The Vatican has described a scathing United Nations report in which the Catholic Church is accused of turning a blind eye to decades of child sex abuse by priests, as “distorted” and “unfair”.
In a written statement the Church reiterated its commitment to defending and protecting the rights of the child and described the UN report as ideologically slanted.
The Vatican’s Ambassador to the UN, Silvano Maria Tomasi added that the Holy See as head of the Vatican City had already changed its procedures and introduced measures which are specifically designed to prevent child sex abuse.
The UN committee which wrote the report, heard first hand witness statements from abuse victims at a grilling of the Vatican delegation in Geneva last month.
It was the first time the Holy See had been forced to answer questions from an international panel since the scandal broke about 15 years ago.
Wednesday’s report concluded the Church had put its reputation before the protection of children and demanded it immediately turn over known or suspected offenders to civil justice.
Pope Francis who has only been in office 11 months, has called the sexual abuse of children “the shame of the Church” and set up a special commission of the subject which is due to report its findings soon.