The Vatican Struggles To Keep Up With A Record Number of Sex-Abuse Cases Reported This Year

The Vatican Struggles To Keep Up With A Record Number of Sex Abuse Cases Reported in 2019

Late December 2019, the Associated Press reported that the Vatican office responsible for processing clergy sex abuse complaints, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), has seen a record 1,000 cases reported from around the world this year. The CDF said there are four times more complaints this year than a decade ago, with many coming from countries that had no previous reported history of sexual abuse cases.

Monsignor John Kennedy said that he plans to expand his struggling, skeleton staff of 17 and add more people to help with the onslaught of cases.  “We’re effectively seeing a tsunami of cases at the moment, particularly from countries where we never heard from (before),” Kennedy said, referring to allegations of abuse that occurred years ago. 

For decades the United States has reported the most cases of clergy sex abuse. Now, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Italy and Poland are among the countries with the most cases being sent to the CDF. 

For nearly 20 years the CDF has processed 6,000 abuse cases. Pope Francis has said that it still had a backlog of 2,000. Now, the CDF must manage with the globalization of the sex abuse scandal.

Kennedy said the Vatican was committed to fighting clergy sex abuse and just needed more time to process the cases. “We’re going to look at it forensically and guarantee that the just outcome will be given,” he said.

In an attempt to streamline the project, the CDF is working on a database to access statistics from cases previously processed. It will also publish a guidebook for bishops and religious superiors to use so they can more efficiently process cases.

The role of priests in the church is to support the spiritual needs of their parishioners. Education, counseling, and guidance in times of need are responsibilities with which they are entrusted. A clergyman who sexually violates children has no place working in the Church. Any ministry in which such a crime is committed must take responsibility for failing to properly screen potential priests and protect their parishioners. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in the United States. If you or a loved one was sexually abused, raped or sexually molested by a priest or other clergy, contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com for a free consultation.