Vatican City, Feb 11, 2016 / 12:42 pm America/Denver (CNA).
Media reports are wrong to claim that the Vatican is telling new bishops that they don’t have to report sexual abuse, Holy See spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said.
A reported comment from a Vatican consultant is “not in any way – as someone has mistakenly interpreted – a new Vatican document or a new instruction or new 'guidelines' for bishops,” Fr. Lombardi said Feb. 11.
The news reports concerned a statement from French Monsignor Tony Anatrella, who contributed to a 2015 formation course for new bishops organized by the Congregation for Bishops.
Msgr. Anatrella, a consultant to the Pontifical Council for the Family and the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, wrote a document with a section reflecting on countries’ civil laws that mandate abuse reporting.
The document said “it is not necessarily the duty of the bishop to report suspects to authorities, the police or state prosecutors in the moment when they are made aware of crimes or sinful deeds.” Msgr. Anatrella said that decision is up to victims and their families.