Sex abuse must be reported to police, Vatican says

By REUTERS
February 7, 2012 02:37

 
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ROME - Catholic clergy must report pedophile priests to police, a top Vatican official told the Holy See's first conference on the sex abuse crisis on Monday, but victims' groups demanded the Vatican face up to its past and publish its files on abuse.

Pope Benedict called for a "profound renewal of the church at every level" in a message delivered to senior churchmen summoned to discuss the Church's handling of sex abuse cases and accusations the Vatican had encouraged secrecy.

The scandal has led to costly legal action, is blamed for an exodus of believers in some European states, including the pope's native Germany, and damaged its moral standing in hitherto staunchly Catholic countries.

Cardinal William Levada, the Vatican's head of doctrine, said clergy guilty of abuses would have to face the secular legal system, not just the canon law which governs church affairs.

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