9:57am

Tue May 17, 2011
The Commonwealth

Critics Call Vatican Guidelines Weak

The Vatican today released a letter presenting some guidelines for dealing with sex abuse in dioceses around the world. The letter didn’t change much on the policy outlined last summer by Pope Benedict XVI…and the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, says the new guidelines don’t go far enough.

SNAP Outreach Coordinator Barbara Dorris says the church needs more transparency in reporting sex abuse crimes, which she says the letter doesn’t address.

“You have a moral and a civil obligation to tell what you know about these situations to civil authorities” she says “so that we get to the truth so that  if these men have indeed committed horrific crimes, they go to prison and we protect the children.”

Dorris says the Vatican’s policies must be stricter and more should be done to ensure that perpetrators are kept out of public ministry.

She says the church needs to address the possibility that dioceses have been covering up abuse.

“The most important thing they can do is to punish the people who protect and enable the predators to remain in ministry,” Dorris says “so if a Bishop knowingly moves a predator then he should be held accountable for those actions.”

The letter from the Vatican states that local civil procedures should be followed in cases, but Dorris says the policies must be stricter and the church should do more to ensure that perpetrators are kept out of public ministry.