The report demanded that the Vatican immediately turn over to criminal investigators any known or suspected abusers and end its “code of silence” by enforcing rules ordering dioceses to report abuse to local authorities. It also called on the Vatican to open its archives on sexual allegations against clerics.
The range of the report appeared to infuriate the Vatican, which last month sent two top officials to appear before the U.N. panel in Geneva for the first public accounting of the Holy See’s handling of abuse allegations. Officials said they are still studying the findings, but responded angrily to what they described as recommendations that are ideologically biased. They said the United Nations has no right to weigh in on church teachings.
“Trying to ask the Holy See to change its teachings is not negotiable,” Silvano Maria Tomasi, the Vatican’s permanent observer at the United Nations in Geneva, told Vatican Radio. He suggested that gay rights groups had influenced the commission.
The Vatican has been riding a wave ofpositive publicity since Pope Francis was elected in March. But the report — which is not binding, meaning the United Nations has no way to enforce its recommendations — drew attention to the single largest stain on the Catholic Church’s global image: Its handling of allegations of sexual abuse by clerics.