News by email Donate


World News

Vatican's anti-child abuse panel to issue first full report in 2024

by Reuters Journalist

The Vatican panel due to produce annual reports on child abuse prevention within the Catholic Church will not deliver its first full review until 2024, its secretary said on Friday.

In April, after a wider constitutional overhaul of Vatican structures, Pope Francis gave the Pontifical Council for the Protection of Minors a mandate to produce the reports.

Clerical sex abuse and cover up scandals have rocked the 1.35 billion-member Catholic Church for decades, undercutting its moral authority and taking a toll on membership and coffers.

Greater transparency, new reporting procedures and tougher punishment for abusers and those who fail to go after them are part of Francis' stated "zero tolerance" response. 

"Around October next year we'll have a good idea of what we want to say, (but) I don't think we're going to have data in place until the following year, 2024," said panel secretary Father Andrew Small.

Briefing reporters, he said the council, which has 20 lay and religious members including an advocate for abuse survivors, would issue a limited "blueprint" report in 2023. 

Father Small said he was not sure "how much actionable data" it would have, whereas the 2024 report will have "evaluations of where there are gaps and holes and deficiencies."

Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of, a respected U.S.-based organisation that tracks abuse, complained that the Vatican commission was moving too slowly.

"That’s a long time for the public to wait before knowing where children are at risk of sexual abuse," she said about the 2024 publication date, in a statement to Reuters. 

The Vatican panel is meant to supervise efforts by national Catholic churches to adapt to and enforce the new anti-child abuse provisions introduced in recent years. 

Its remit does not extend to reviewing specific cases of abuse or cover up, though its report might include data on how many such cases are known to the Vatican's disciplinary office. 

Barrett Doyle said this was a major deficiency. 

"The commission is prohibited from examining individual cases. This will hobble them tremendously. How can they render meaningful judgment without access to the evidence," she said. 

Francis established the commission in 2014, a year after his election, to promote best practices and a culture of safeguarding in Catholic communities worldwide.

The panel got off to a rocky start, with several members resigning in frustration, complaining that it had no teeth and that they had met internal resistance.

In March, the pope gave the commission stronger clout when a new Holy See constitution placed it inside the Vatican's doctrinal department, which rules on abuse cases.

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us
Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email