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Today, Good Friday, members of ‘We are Church Ireland‘ staged a dramatic presentation on Grafton Street, Dublin 2, calling for ‘Justice for Worldwide Survivors of Clerical Child Sex Abuse‘ and for members of the Catholic Hierarchy involved in the cover-up of these heinous crimes through not reporting them to the civil authorities, to be brought to justice both in the Civil and Church courts. There is ambivalence and no clear direction from the Vatican on the reporting of clerical child sex abuse to civil authorities worldwide.

A training course organised by The Vatican Congregation for Bishops for newly appointed Catholic bishops from around the world held in September 2015, was told that they had no obligation to report abuse charges to civil law enforcement agencies. The Pontifical commission for the Protection of Minors set up by Pope Francis in 2014 had not been invited by the organising Congregation of Bishops to address the new bishops with their alternate view that all bishops had a moral and religious responsibility to report all child sexual abuse charges to the civil authorities.

The maintenance of secrecy for the crimes of clerical sex abuse is imposed by Article 25 of Pope John Paul II's motu proprio, Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela of 2001 and by Article 30 of its revision by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010, which impose the pontifical secret on all allegations and proceedings relating to child sexual abuse by clerics. The footnotes to Article 25 and Article 30 apply Article 1(4) of Pope Paul VI's instruction, Secreta Continere, which defines the pontifical secret as the church's highest form of secrecy, and like the secret of the confessional, is a permanent silence. Since becoming Pope, three years ago, Pope Francis has not changed this imposed secrecy, which prevents transparency in the administration of ‘Justice for Worldwide Survivors of clerical sex abuse’.

‘Pope Francis should lift this veil of secrecy imposed by his predecessors and eliminate the ambivalence surrounding the crime of clerical child sex abuse by decreeing that all Catholic Church authorities must be held accountable and irrespective of circumstances must report all clerics accused of clerical child sex abuse to the civil authorities’ stated Brendan Butler, We are Church Ireland

Brendan Butler, We are Church spokesperson. Mobile 086 4054984