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European Parliament condemns Vatican over abuse cases

    The European Parliament has made an unprecedented attack on the Vatican, approving a motion blaming it for the rapes suffered by nuns in Africa in the 1990s.
    The Zenit news agency reports that some observers saw the nonbinding measure as an attempt to impede John Paul II's visit to this institution.
    Italian Europarliamentarian Mario Mauro told Zenit he believes the motion was motivated by the desire to discredit the Vatican at international conferences, where it plays a decisive role, and to impede a possible visit of John Paul II to the parliament.
    The parliamentary motion, the Responsibility of the Vatican in Regard to the Violation of Human Rights by Catholic Priests, has no executive character but rather is intended as a moral judgment.
    It "condemns all the sexual violations against women, particularly against Catholic nuns. Likewise, it requests that the perpetrators of the crimes be arrested and handed over to justice."
    The motion was passed 65-49 on Thursday, with six abstentions.
    The parliament's voting was in reference to the report given to the Vatican Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life by Sr Maria O'Donohue, which points out cases of abuse of nuns by priests. The report was made public last month by the US independent Catholic newspaper the National Catholic Reporter.