A Catholic Church document -- released to the press earlier this month -- tells bishops they don't have to report clerical child sexual abuse accusations to police, the UPI website reports today (February 11, 2016).
Regarding abuse allegations, the Vatican said bishops must be aware of local laws but their only duty was to deal with cases internally.
Victims groups reacted angrily to the edict -- written by French Monsignor Tony Anatrella -- despite Pope Francis declaring "everything possible must be done to rid the church of the scourge of the sexual abuse," including defrocking abusive clergy.
Nicky Davis, of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests -- or SNAP -- said clergy should be legally obliged to report suspected abuse. "Their systems function to protect the interests of the institution," she said. "They don't put the protection of children first."