Belfast Telegraph

Decisions on child safety up to courts: archbishop

By Sarah MacDonald

The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland has said any judgment of alleged failures to safeguard children is mainly a matter for the courts.

Archbishop Eamon Martin was responding to questions about calls for the establishment of a Vatican accountability tribunal.

Dr Martin said it would be “a mistake to think that somehow a system or a process in Rome is going to keep our children safe or ensure full accountability”.

Pope Francis backed the proposal for the tribunal when it was first recommended in 2015, but he appeared to dismiss it last month.

Acknowledging that accountability is “key”, Dr Martin said: “It is very important that accountability operates as part of a just system.”

He said “various mechanisms” on accountability are being considered in the Church.

But he stressed that in Ireland, reporting of abuse is mandatory and it is the courts that decide if somebody has failed in this regard. It is only when the civil or criminal process is concluded, that accountability under canon law takes place, he added.

Belfast Telegraph

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