A UN human rights committee denounced the Vatican on Wednesday for adopting policies that allowed priests to rape and molest tens of thousands of children over decades, and urged it to open its files on the pedophiles and the churchmen who concealed their crimes.
Dozens and perhaps hundreds of widows and Vatican pensioners recently came in for a rude surprise: The Vatican bank told them they had to close their accounts or risk losing access to their money -- all in the name of Pope Francis' reform efforts, The Associated Press has learned.
A Vatican monsignor already on trial for allegedly plotting to smuggle 20 million euros from Switzerland to Italy was ordered arrested in a separate case on Tuesday for allegedly using his Vatican bank accounts to launder money.
Pope Francis made another move to clean house at the troubled Vatican bank on Wednesday, naming a new roster of cardinal advisers -- including one Canadian -- to replace the ones who were in place during its latest brushes with scandal.
The Vatican is gearing up for a bruising showdown over the global priest sex abuse scandal, forced for the first time to defend itself at length and in public against allegations it enabled the rape of thousands of children by protecting pedophile priests and its own reputation at the expense of victims.
The Vatican has dodged a series of questions posed by a U.N. committee about clerical sexual abuse by noting that the Holy See doesn't control the actions of every Catholic in the world, much less every Catholic priest, parish or school.