Documents and files on priests who sexually abused children and women in their congregations were destroyed or never even drawn up, a top Catholic cardinal admitted today. The move allowed pedophiles to prey on others, the Cardinal explained.
“Files that could have documented the terrible deeds and named those responsible were destroyed, or not even created,” German Cardinal Reinhard Marx said in a speech to a landmark Vatican summit on tackling pedophilia in the clergy.
“Instead of the perpetrators, the victims were regulated and silence imposed on them.
“The stipulated procedures and processes for the prosecution of offenses were deliberately not complied with, but instead canceled or overridden,” he said.
Marx spoke in the college on the third day of the historic meeting of world’s top bishops called by Pope Francis in order to address the problem of sexual harassment with the Catholic Church.
The ongoing scandals have escalated into a crisis which has affected many countries across the globe, with recent cases affecting Chile, Germany and the US.
Investigations have revealed that in most cases, priests who were accused of sexual assault and pedophilia were not charged but instead, they were merely transferred to other parishes as bishops turn a blind eye to protect the reputation of the Church.
“The rights of victims were effectively trampled underfoot, and left to the whims of individuals. These are all events that sharply contradict what the Church should stand for,” Marx said.
The cardinal said it was essential that victims felt “that they can trust the system.”
“There are no alternatives to traceability and transparency,” he insisted, adding that attempts to cover-up scandals risked seriously undermining the Catholic Church’s credibility.
The meeting was called upon after the historic admittance of Pope Francis that these abuses happen and that the Vatican will do everything to correct the system.
Pope Francis demanded ‘concrete measures’ from the bishops to fight sexual abuse. However, survivor groups and advocates have accused the Vatican of beautiful words but little action. /apr