The Catholic Church has been condemned for prioritizing its own reputation over the protection of thousands of children who were abused for decades by priests, according to a damning new report in the UK.

A government-backed independent inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales published its findings on Tuesday. The investigative report slammed the Catholic Church for putting its reputation first and not adequately addressing thousands of accusations of sexual assault.

The report claims that the Church’s “moral purpose was betrayed over decades” not only by those abusing minors, but by those who “turned a blind eye” to these heinous crimes.

The Church’s neglect of the physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of children and young people in favor of protecting its reputation was in conflict with its mission of love and care for the innocent and vulnerable.

The inquiry found that the Church neglected its duty to support survivors and victims, while taking positive action to protect alleged perpetrators, including moving accused priests to other parishes.

The UK’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, is also named in the report and is accused of failing to show compassion for the victims of sexual abuse by priests.

The report claims that the real extent of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is “far higher” than the approximately 3,500 allegations reported in England and Wales over the past 50 years.

It added that Church authorities have been reluctant to facilitate external oversight, and had not implemented previously recommended changes.

Professor Alexis Jay OBE, chair of the inquiry, said that “even today, the responses of the Holy See appear at odds with the Pope’s promise to take action on this hugely important problem.”

A statement released by the Catholic Church welcomed the findings of the report and apologized to all the victims who have not been properly listened to or supported.  

If you like this story, share it with a friend!