Huff Post: This week in Geneva, the United Nation’s Committee on the Rights of the Child is hearing closed-door testimony about official Catholicism’s compliance with the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child. One of almost 200 signatories to the convention, the Holy See (the formal name of the Vatican state) is fifteen years late in delivering a report describing whether it has acted to “protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence” as the convention requires. Victims of sexually abusive priests, their advocates, various American grand juries, Irish government investigators and their counterparts in other countries have turned up ample evidence that it has not.
The decades-long international scandal of sexual abuse and cover-ups by higher church authorities is so familiar that by now it requires little recounting. It’s sufficient to say that thousands of priests have been judged credibly accused by the church itself, which has paid billions of dollars to settle legal claims filed by victims. In America, roughly five hundred clergy have been convicted of crimes against children. In Ireland, the scandal is so great it has ruptured the historically tight bond between the state and the church. In Australia the parliament has begun a broad inquiry into sex crimes committed by Catholic clergy, which Cardinal George Pell of Sydney recently termed “a horrendous widespread mess.”