Child sexual abuse inquiry criticises lack of cooperation from Vatican

The Vatican’s repeated refusal to cooperate with official investigations into paedophile priests and its delay in stripping convicted offenders of their clerical status has been condemned by the UK’s child sexual abuse inquiry.

In a highly critical attack on the papacy’s stonewalling response to decades of complaints, the lead counsel to the inquiry, Brian Altman QC, said it was “very disappointing” that significant evidence and statements had been withheld.

The approach of the archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, was also criticised after he belatedly admitted in February that it was “sobering” when he “began to see” the problem from the perspective of the victim.

At the start of its final, two week-long hearing into abuse within the Catholic church, the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA) detailed how it sought help from the UK Foreign Office to obtain answers from the Holy See to its questions.

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