ROME -- The Vatican’s top prosecutor on sex abuse cases today bluntly decried “a deadly culture of silence” on clerical abuse, calling such denial “in itself wrong and unjust.”
tMaltese Monsignor Charles Scicluna told participants in a Vatican summit on sex abuse that while the church now has clear laws to punish abusers, just having such laws on the books isn’t enough.
t“Our people need to know that the law is being applied,” he said. “No strategy for the prevention of child abuse will ever work without commitment and accountability.”
tScicluna likewise reaffirmed the obligation of church leaders to cooperate with civil authorities, including reporting abuse allegations to police and prosecutors.
“Sexual abuse of minors is not just a canonical [violation] or a breach of a code of conduct internal to an institution, whether it be religious or other,” he said. “It is also a crime prosecuted by civil law.”
As a result, Scicluna said, Catholic officials have “the duty to cooperate with state authorities in our response to child abuse.”