The Vatican has told the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) that it will not disclose information on cases of alleged sexual abuse of children committed by members of its clergy.
The committee wrote to the Church in July asking for “detailed information” on the investigations, legal proceedings and outcomes of cases of alleged sexual abuses.
In a written response to these questions — hand-delivered last month but just published online by the U.N. on Tuesday — the Vatican wrote that “it is not the practice of the Holy See to disclose information on the religious discipline of members of the clergy or religious according to canon law.” It said this was “in order to protect the witnesses, the accused and the integrity of the Church process.”
The Vatican added that it would only provide the information if requested to do so by a state or government “through specific procedures.” However, the Vatican said that it “does not forbid or even discourage anyone” from reporting allegations of sexual abuse to civil authorities. Its responses will be questioned by the CRC in its next session in January 2014.