The U.N. Committee Against Torture urged the Vatican to impose "meaningful sanctions" on any church authority who fails to follow church law in dealing with allegations of sexual abuse.
The Vatican has effectively addressed the "worldwide scourge" of clerical sexual abuse over the past decade, a United Nations panel heard Tuesday.
A U.N. committee on torture repeatedly asked Vatican officials about efforts to investigate allegations of clerical sex abuse, to punish offenders and to cooperate with civil authorities.
As Vatican representatives prepare to testify before a United Nations inquiry into torture next week, a senior official warned investigators that it would be "deceptive" to link torture with the pedophilia scandals that have swept the Catholic church.
The Vatican's chief spokesman, Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, said Friday that the Convention Against Torture, endorsed by the Vatican in 2002, was one of the most important in the U.N.'s ambit.