联合国儿童权利委员会现任主席桑德伯格（Kirsten Sandberg）5日在记者会上表示，根据众多国家调查委会的报告，梵蒂冈教廷统辖下的天主教神职人员在世界各地对数以万计的儿童实施了性虐待。然而，依据教廷的“沉默规则（code of silence）”，相关罪行很少会被上报地方执法机关；同时，为了遮掩丑闻，肇事者往往被从一个教区调往另一个教区，或者从一个国家调往另一个国家。儿童权利委员会对此表示严重关切。
桑德伯格说，“委员会通过调查发现，梵蒂冈教廷的确采取了一些政策和措施，导致性虐儿童罪行以及肇事者逍遥法外的问题持续发生。长期以来，梵蒂冈一直把维护教廷声誉和包庇犯法神职人员置于儿童的最佳利益之上，委员会对此深表遗憾，并强烈敦促教廷立即对教会法（Canon Law）进行修订，把针对儿童实施的性虐待明确认定为犯罪，而不是‘道德败坏（delicts against the moral）’，同时废除所有要求受害者保持缄默的规定。”
桑德伯格援引委员会的结论性意见指出，尽管梵蒂冈于1989年就正式签署了《联合国儿童权利公约》，但其教会法中的一些条款仍与公约准则不相一致，特别是在保护儿童免遭歧视、暴力和一切形式的性剥削和性虐待方面。委员会就此建议教廷建立相关机制，对在其管辖下的所有个人和机构，包括天主教会学校以及梵蒂冈城国（Vatican City State）实施监督，确保《儿童权利公约》得到尊重和落实，同时开展系统性的培训，让所有神职人员了解公约内容。
PRESS RELEASE ON OBSERVATIONS OF THE UNITED NATIONS COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
Vatican City, 5 February 2014 (VIS) – This morning the Holy See Press Office issued a communique on the observations of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, the full text of which is published below:
“At the end of its 65th session, the Committee on the Rights of the Child has published its Concluding Observations on the reviewed Reports of the Holy See and five States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Congo, Germany, Portugal, Russian Federation and Yemen).
According to the proper procedures foreseen for the parties to the Convention, the Holy See takes note of the Concluding Observations on its Reports, which will be submitted to a thorough study and examination, in full respect of the Convention in the different areas presented by the Committee according to international law and practice, as well as taking into consideration the public interactive debate with the Committee, held on 16 January 2014.
The Holy See does, however, regret to see in some points of the Concluding Observations an attempt to interfere with Catholic Church teaching on the dignity of the human person and in the exercise of religious freedom.
The Holy See reiterates its commitment to defending and protecting the rights of the child, in line with the principles promoted by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and according to the moral and religious values offered by Catholic doctrine”.
The Committee takes note of the commitment expressed by the delegation of the Holy See to hold inviolable the dignity and entire person of every child. The Committee nevertheless expresses its deepest concern about child sexual abuse committed by members of the Catholic churches who operate under the authority of the Holy See, with clerics having been involved in the sexual abuse of tens of thousands of children worldwide. 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 Committee is particularly concerned that:
(a) Well-known child sexual abusers have been transferred from parish to parish or to other countries in an attempt to cover-up such crimes, a practice documented by numerous national commissions of inquiry. The practice of offenders’ mobility, which has allowed many priests to remain in contact with children and to continue to abuse them, still places children in many countries at high risk of sexual abuse, as dozens of child sexual offenders are reported to be still in contact with children;
(b) Although the Holy See has established its full jurisdiction over child sexual abuse cases in 1962 and placed them in 2001 under the exclusive competence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), it has declined to provide the Committee with data on all cases of child sexual abuse brought to its attention over the reporting period and the outcome of the internal procedure in these cases;
(c) Child sexual abuse, when addressed, has been dealt with as grave delicts against the moral through confidential proceedings providing for disciplinary measures which have allowed the vast majority of abusers and almost all those who concealed child sexual abuse to escape judicial proceedings in States where abuses were committed;
(d) Due to a code of silence imposed on all members of the clergy under penalty of excommunication, cases of child sexual abuse have hardly ever been reported to the law enforcement authorities in the countries where such crimes occurred. On the contrary, cases of nuns and priests ostracized, demoted and fired for not having respected the obligation of silence have been reported to the Committee as well as cases of priests who have been congratulated for refusing to denounce child abusers, as shown in the letter addressed by Cardinal Castrillon Hojos to Bishop Pierre Pican in 2001;
(e) Reporting to national law enforcement authorities has never been made compulsory and was explicitly rejected in an official letter addressed to members of the Irish Episcopal Conference by Bishop Moreno and Nuncio Storero in 1997. In many cases, Church authorities, including at the highest levels of the Holy See have shown reluctance and in some instances, refused to cooperate with judicial authorities and national commissions of inquiry.
(f) Limited efforts have been made to empower children enrolled in Catholic schools and institutions to protect themselves from sexual abuse.
The Committee acknowledges the Holy See’s statement about the importance to establish the truth of what happened in the past, to take the necessary steps to prevent it from occurring again, to ensure that the principles of justice are fully respected and, above all, to bring healing to the victims and to all those affected by these egregious crimes. In this perspective, the Committee strongly urges the Holy See to:
(a) Ensure that the Commission created in December 2013 will investigate independently all cases of child sexual abuse as well as the conduct of the Catholic hierarchy in dealing with them. The Holy See should consider inviting civil society and victims organizations to join this Commission and international human rights mechanisms to support its work. The outcome of this investigation should be made public and serve to prevent the recurrence of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church;
(b) Immediately remove all known and suspected child sexual abusers from assignment and refer the matter to the relevant law enforcement authorities for investigation and prosecution purposes;
(c) Ensure a transparent sharing of all archives which can be used to hold the abusers accountable as well as all those who concealed their crimes and knowingly placed offenders in contact with children;
(d) Amend Canon Law in order for child sexual abuse to be considered as crimes and not as “delicts against the moral” and repeal all provisions which may impose an obligation of silence on the victims and on all those that become aware of such crimes;
(e) Establish clear rules, mechanisms and procedures for the mandatory reporting of all suspected cases of child sexual abuse and exploitation to law enforcement authorities;
(f) Ensure that all priests, religious personnel and individuals working under the authority of the Holy See are made aware of their reporting obligations and of the fact that in case of conflict, these obligations prevail over Canon law provisions;
(g) Develop programmes and policies for the prevention of such crimes and for the recovery and social reintegration of child victims, in accordance with the outcome documents adopted at the 1996, 2001 and 2008 World Congresses against Sexual Exploitation of Children, held in Stockholm, Yokohama and Rio de Janeiro, respectively;
(h) Develop educational preventive programmes to increase children’s awareness of sexual abuse and to teach them the necessary skills with which to protect themselves; and
(i) Consider ratifying the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse.