As Pope Francis oversees the Catholic Church’s struggle to deal with pedophile priests, the Vatican is facing a grilling at the UN.
The Holy See is being forced for the first time to defend itself in public over its record in the global priest sex abuse scandal.
It believes the problem is too far reaching for it to deal with on its own.
Vatican spokesman Reverend Federico Lombardi said:
“The community of the faithful in the world is done by people that belong to different lands, and with the laws of these lands and so on. And then, if they have done crimes in their land they have to respond to the authorities and to the law of their lands.”
Victims groups and human rights organisations have provided testimony from abuse survivors to the UN committee. The Vatican is a signatory of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and is obliged to protect children from harm.
In a separate development officials in the Archdiocese of Chicago are to release about 6,000 pages of documents detailing clergy sex abuse allegations to “bring healing to the victims and their families”.
Disclosures in other US dioceses in recent years have shown how the church shielded priests and failed to report child sex abuse to the authorities.
Chicago’s Bishop Francis Kane is quoted as saying “we made a terrible mistake.”