A commission created by Pope Francis has reaffirmed that Catholic bishops have "a moral and ethical responsibility" to report suspected child sexual abuse to civil authorities, The Daily Beast website reports today (February 16, 2016).
The advice contradicts a 2015 Vatican training course that told bishops they had no obligation to report abuse charges to law enforcement officials under church law. (See "Vatican: Bishops Need Not Report Abuse to Police..." in Theology and Society, February 11, 2016.)
The commission issued a statement in the name of its chairman Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, saying, "As Pope Francis has so clearly stated, 'The crimes and sins of the sexual abuse of children must not be kept secret for any longer. I pledge the zealous vigilance of the church to protect children and the promise of accountability for all.'"
The statement adds, "Our bishops' charter clearly states the obligation that all dioceses [and] eparchies and personnel report suspected abuse to the public authorities."