RedTracker| Catholic sex abuse victims worldwide call the newly-revealed 1997 letter signed by the late Archbishop Luciano Storero, Pope John Paul II’s diplomat to Ireland, the “smoking gun” they’re looking for.
The letter, obtained by Irish broadcasters and provided to AP, documents the Vatican’s rejection of a 1996 Irish church initiative that demanded cooperation with local police in identifying pedophile priests.
Storero wrote that canon law — which required abuse allegations and punishments to be handled within the church — “must be meticulously followed.” He warned that any bishops who tried to impose punishments outside the confines of canon law would face the “highly embarrassing” position of having their actions overturned on appeal in Rome. via AP
The letter undercuts the Vatican’s claims that they have cooperated consistently with authorities in the recent past in prosecuting sex abuse cases.
“The letter is of huge international significance, because it shows that the Vatican’s intention is to prevent reporting of abuse to criminal authorities. And if that instruction applied here, it applied everywhere,” said Colm O’Gorman, director of the Irish chapter of human rights watchdog Amnesty International.