The Italian Bishop’s Conference (CIE) has issued guidelines on child protection that inform its bishops that they are ‘not obliged to report illicit facts’ of child abuse to the police.
The new guidelines were released recently after the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith advised every Bishop Conference to create a document covering Child Protection if they did not already have one.
One of the conferences that was void of such documentation was the CEI which works under Pope Benedict XVI.
In their new five page document which advised Italian Bishops on how to deal with paedophilia they failed to focus on one of the most important and obvious means of combating the crime – informing police authorities.
Instead the document read: “Under Italian law, the bishop, given that he holds no public office nor is he a public servant, is not obliged to report illicit facts of the type covered by this document to the relevant state judicial authorities."
In response to the documentation US Abuse Victims’ Group Snap told the Irish Times: “Once again the Catholic Church hierarchy has missed the boat . . . These prelates had a chance to do more than the bare minimum and thus set a good example for their colleagues around the world by putting the safety of children first and foremost, but they chose instead to put the reputation of the church first.”