GENEVA (AP) — The Vatican came under blistering criticism from a U.N. committee Thursday for its handling of the global priest sex abuse scandal, facing its most intense public grilling ever over allegations that it protected pedophile priests at the expense of victims.
Monsignor Charles Scicluna, the Vatican's former sex crimes prosecutor, acknowledged that the Holy See had been slow to face the crisis but said that it was now committed to doing so. He encouraged prosecutors to take action against anyone who obstructs justice — a suggestion that bishops who moved priests from diocese to diocese should be held accountable.
"The Holy See gets it," Scicluna told the committee. "Let's not say too late or not. But there are certain things that need to be done differently."
He was responding to a grilling by the U.N. committee over the Holy See's failure to abide by terms of a treaty that calls for signatories to take all appropriate measures to keep children from harm. Critics allege the church enabled the rape of thousands of children by protecting pedophile priests to defend its reputation.