National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Vatican's UN envoy says bishop's defrocking shows church takes abuse seriously

Vatican City

The defrocking of a former Vatican ambassador is a "sign of the seriousness" with which Pope Francis and the Vatican are approaching the clergy sexual abuse scandal, according to the Holy See's representative to United Nations agencies in Geneva.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi was tasked with defending the Catholic church's record when he presented reports to the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child and the U.N. Committee Against Torture in Geneva earlier this year.

During questioning, Tomasi was asked whether the Vatican would agree to extradite Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, a Polish archbishop and papal envoy, to his native Poland after he was recalled from the Dominican Republic in September on claims of sexual abuse.

Wesolowski was defrocked last week, and Tomasi said Vatican prosecutors are investigating the former nuncio. Speaking in Rome this week, Tomasi said he hoped other states and institutions would now follow the approach taken by the Holy See in dealing with cases of pedophilia. 

Wesolowski, 65, is the highest-ranking church official to be defrocked over sexual abuse allegations and has two months to appeal his removal from the priesthood. After that process, Wesolowski could face charges in a criminal court, although the Vatican has claimed he has diplomatic immunity from secular courts.

rectangular-logo.jpgVisit our new website, Global Sisters Report!

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said the Vatican has not done enough to bring Wesolowski to justice. The victims advocacy group has demanded that the former diplomat face criminal prosecution beyond the walls of the city-state.

"If this Vatican move leads to Wesolowski being locked up, we'll be encouraged. However, we fear that it won't," said David Clohessy, director of SNAP.

The Vatican committee set up by Pope Francis last year to fight sexual abuse of children in the church is due to meet in Rome for the second time this weekend. And for the first time, Francis is expected to meet abuse victims from Germany, the United Kingdom and Ireland within the next few days at his private residence.

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

 

Feature-flag_GSR_start-reading.jpg

NCR Email Alerts

 

In This Issue

September 12-25, 2014

09-12-2014.jpg

Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.