But now I'm a bit confused as to whether this goes far enough. The first report I came across says;
"Pope Benedict XVI has asked the bishops across the world to fight child abuse by reporting such incidents to the local police.
In his letter to bishops, he said, "Sexual abuse of minors is not just a canonical delict but also a crime prosecuted by civil law." He suggested the bishops to take immediate steps to address assaults against minorities and asked them to follow local laws while reporting the crime."
Bishops being told to report incidents to thier local police sounds like just the thing that should have always have happened and could be a great step in protecting children. Now any sexual predators in the churches ranks will have no one to hide behind, there can be no cover ups or claims of cover ups.
But the second report is much more reserved;
"Bishops are told to cooperate with police but they are not required to report allegations to the authorities if local law does not require it."
Of course if nothing illegal has occurred according to local laws there is little point in reporting it to the police but that is not what this says.
How many authorities legally require that allegations be reported? Shouldn't all allegations against childern that may, upon investigation by the civil authorities, result in possible legal action on behalf of the children be reported? Not just report them if there is a law that requires them too? Shouldn't this have always happened in any case as anything less would be an illegal act?
Perhaps something has been lost in translation or perhaps these new guidelines are meaningless just as survivor groups are saying.