Newly Disclosed Document: Vatican Officials Told Bishops Not to Report Suspected Priest Abusers to Police

A newly disclosed document issued by Vatican officials to the bishops of Ireland in 1997, stated that they (Vatican officials) had serious reservations about the bishops’ policy of mandatory reporting of priests suspected of child abuse to the police or civil authorities. This contradicts Vatican assertions that the church leaders never sought to control the actions of the bishops in abuse cases or impede criminal investigations of child abuse suspects. The letter stated that bishops who failed to follow canon law procedures prcisely might find their decisions to defrock clerics would be overturned on appeal by Vatican courts.