The Catholic Church in England and Wales has failed to protect children from sexual abuse while consistently prioritizing their own reputations and protecting alleged abusers. This revealed a new investigation.
The Independent Inquiry Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) report released on Tuesday found that the Church had taken abusive priests and monks to various parishes, where some continued to hunt children and resist any outside intervention.
IICSA said the Catholic Church received more than 900 complaints between 1970 and 2015, covering nearly 3,000 cases of child sexual abuse against priests, monks and volunteers.
The investigation also found that more than 100 allegations have been reported annually since 2016.
“The report finds that the church has repeatedly prioritized its own reputation over the well-being of vulnerable children,” said IISSA Chairman Alexis Jay in a video posted on social media.
“In recent years, senior church leaders have resisted external oversight and have only partially implemented the recommendations of key reviews,” she said.
We have published our investigative report examining the Roman Catholic Church’s response to allegations of child sexual abuse. She notes that for decades the Church prioritized her own reputation over the welfare of children.
Read it here – https://t.co/QnXGUU8mP6 pic.twitter.com/irjC0gr7Nq
– InquiryCSA (@InquiryCSA) November 10, 2020
“For decades the moral purpose of the church has been betrayed by those who sexually abused children and those who turned a blind eye,” she added.
“Even today, the Holy See’s decision not to participate in this investigation goes against the Pope’s promise to take action against child sexual abuse,” Jay said.
Pope Francis made sweeping changes to address the sexual abuse crisis after mounting global pressures calling for greater accountability, including removing papal secrecy over allegations of sexual abuse against clergymen last year and enforcing a tougher one Child Pornography Act.
However, some critics believe that this is still not enough.
The IICSA report showed how the church repeatedly unsupported victims and survivors while taking positive action to protect alleged perpetrators, including moving to different parishes.
The oldest Catholic leader in England and Wales, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, has failed to acknowledge personal responsibility or show compassion for the victims in the most recent cases examined by the investigation.
“At times, the report says, Cardinal Nichols has shown himself to be more concerned with the impact of child sexual abuse on the reputation of the Catholic Church than with victims and survivors,” it said.
The Vatican and the Apostolic Nuncio, its Ambassador to the United Kingdom, have not given any testimony to the investigation despite repeated requests.
The research gathered reports from victims and survivors describing the profound and lifelong effects of sexual abuse.
“The psychological effects have continued since then, leading to years of unbearable guilt, depression, nightmares, anxiety and PTSD symptoms,” said a testimony of a witness reported by the investigation.
Another victim said the traumatic experience affected every aspect of his life, including the almost complete destruction of his marriage, and led him to self-harm.
The long-running independent public inquiry into the problem of child sexual abuse in UK institutions and society released similar results on October 6th via the Church of England.