THE UNITED NATIONS demanded today that the Vatican "immediately remove" all clergy who are known or suspected child abusers and turn them over to civil authorities, in an unprecedented and scathing report.
The UN watchdog for children's rights said the Holy See should also hand over its archives on sexual abuse of tens of thousands of children so that culprits, as well as "those who concealed their crimes", could be held accountable.
The watchdog's exceptionally blunt paper – the most far-reaching critique of the Church hierarchy by the world body – followed its public grilling of Vatican officials last month.
"The Committee is gravely concerned that the Holy See has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, has not taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by and the impunity of the perpetrators," the report said.
The Vatican was expected to issue a statement on the report later today.
The UN committee on the Rights of the Child said the Catholic Church had not yet taken measures to prevent a repeat of cases such as Ireland's Magdalene laundries scandal, where girls were arbitrarily placed in conditions of forced labour.