Latest developments in the Roman Catholic investigation have included further dates and that the Vatican has refused to co-operate with IICSA’s requests to provide witness evidence about child abuse in the Roman Catholic Church.
IICSA was told, on 25 September 2019 at a preliminary hearing about the investigation into the Roman Catholic Church, that the Vatican considered the requests made to it by IICSA were improper and it said that its officials were protected by diplomatic immunity.
Jacqueline Carey, counsel to the Inquiry, told a preliminary hearing that the Vatican had been asked to supply written evidence about clerical misconduct cases in Britain and to provide a senior official to present the evidence. Carey said “The Holy See confirmed that it would not be providing a witness statement or a witness to attend the hearing. The Holy See considers that the domestic laws and internal proceedings of a foreign sovereign entity are not the proper object for a British inquiry’.” She added that the Vatican said Archbishop Edwards Adams, the papal nuncio to Britain, had diplomatic immunity and could not be forced to testify.
Gabrielle Shaw of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood responded that “This is a really disappointing missed opportunity for the Vatican to show its commitment to Catholic survivors in the UK… The Vatican has a real chance here to set an example for all faiths by working with supporting survivors across borders.”
The Times stated that the response appeared to be in stark contrast to Pope Francis’ declaration this year of an “all out battle” against child abuse which he said was “utterly incompatible with [the church’s] moral authority and ethical credibility”
On 24 October the Inquiry will publish its report into allegations of child sexual abuse at Ealing Abbey and St Benedict’s School. That will be the third report published in connection with the wider investigation in to Roman Catholic church.
A two week public hearing then commences on 28 October which will focus on a wide range of topics relevant to institutional failings by the Roman Catholic Church in its protection of children from child sexual abuse.
Written by Catherine Davey, associate at BLM