Pope Francis has been criticized for refusing to fully cooperate with the UK’s child sexual abuse inquiry.
Brian Altman QC, lead counsel to the inquiry, said the Catholic Church‘s “refusal to provide the inquiry with all the evidence it has sought is very disappointing”.
He said the Vatican‘s response contradicted the pontiff’s own condemnation of child sexual abuse after his representative in Britain, the apostolic nuncio, declined to give evidence.
Pope Francis has “acknowledged the ‘physical, psychological and spiritual damage’ done to the victims of child sexual abuse, and added that ‘a continuous and profound conversion of hearts is needed, attested by concrete and effective actions that involve everyone in the Church’,” Mr Altman told the chair of the inquiry, according to the Daily Telegraph.
“Chair, you may consider that it is difficult to reconcile the Pope’s own words with the Holy See’s response to the requests properly made to it by this inquiry.”
The independent inquiry into child sex abuse had asked about the involvement of the apostolic nuncio in the handling of various allegations concerning the church.
The inquiry used the proper diplomatic channels and sought help from the UK Foreign Office in a vain attempt to get a statement from the Vatican.
However, the Vatican declined to send evidence about the process used to discipline priests who commit offences and failed to submit a witness statement.
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