Catholic Church To Bishops: You Don’t Need To Report Sexual Abuse

Priyanka Prasad
In training sessions for new bishops, Church leaders are allegedly telling them that they are not required to report sexual abuse to the police.

Pope Francis

The Catholic Church has been mired in scandal concerning sexual abuse for years now, but it appears the training that the bishops undergo does very little to address the issue.

According to The Crux, French Monsignor Tony Anatrella, who is in charge of training new bishops, has told them that they are under no obligation to report sexual abuse to authorities, instead claiming that this is up to the victims and their families.

The Guardian reports that in a copy of Anatrella's training manual, it specifically notes that, “According to the state of civil laws of each country where reporting is obligatory, it is not necessarily the duty of the bishop to report suspects to authorities, the police or state prosecutors in the moment when they are made aware of crimes or sinful deeds."

Over $260 million has been spent since 2013 on prevention programs for bishops, so it is baffling that what they are being taught may have little to no influence on stemming sexual abuse.

Additionally, the “Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, the body created by Pope Francis to identify ‘best practices’ in the fight against child abuse, [has not been] involved in the training.”

This commission is one of the key elements in Pope Francis’s attempts to combat sexual abuse, and their lack of involvement in prevention training is not a good sign.

Pope Francis has said that the Church has a “zero tolerance” policy for sexual abuse, but it seems the Church is not fully committing to reporting and preventing instances of sexual abuse.

As The Crux says, “If the Church is to recover from the abuse scandals, bishops need every tool available, and these courses provide a chance to equip them. It would be a shame, to say the very least, not to take full advantage.” 

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