Vatican not doing enough to fight sexual abuse in Catholic Church, author alleges

The Vatican is not doing enough to stop the sexual abuse happening inside the Catholic Church, according to Italian author Emiliano Fittipaldi.

(REUTERS/Alberto Pizzoli)Pope Francis arrives at the Sistine Chapel to have a family photo taken with Members of diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See at the Vatican, January 9, 2017.

In an upcoming book titled "Lussuria" (Lust), Fittipaldi cites court documents and interviews with priests and judicial officials to paint a picture of Pope Francis' first three years of papacy. The author says the pontiff has done "close to nothing" to address the sexual abuse cases that have tainted the Catholic Church's image, The Guardian details.

"The principle message of the book — the problem — is that the phenomenon of paedophilia is not being fought with sufficient force. Across the world, the church continues to protect the privacy of the paedophiles and also the cardinals [who protect them]," Fittipaldi told the Guardian in an interview. "Francis is not directly defending the paedophiles, but he did close to nothing to contrast the phenomenon of paedophilia."

In Pope Francis' letter to the Catholic Bishops released at the beginning of the year, the pontiff reiterated the church's "zero tolerance" for sexual abuse. He said this in light of the church's reported cover-up of such incidents, including the enabling and relocation of clergy who molest children, Mediaite reports.

Despite the "zero tolerance" stance on sexual abuse, Fittipaldi says around 1,200 plausible complaints of such incidents from all over the world have been brought to the Vatican in Pope Francis' first three years. Of the 20 such cases in Italy last year, some of the accused priests have reportedly been convicted of abuse and yet the church has not implemented any disciplinary action against them.

One such case is Australian Cardinal George Pell, who has been accused of protecting serial abusers under his jurisdiction decades ago. Pope Francis was the one who appointed him to reform church finances, and he has stayed in his position despite the allegations against him.

Another priest featured in "Lussuria" is Mauro Inzoli, who was convicted of molesting kids in 2012 by the church body investigating sexual abuses, and a judge even slammed the Holy See for not surrendering evidence in the case. Pope Benedict defrocked him that time, but his punishment became lighter under Pope Francis' term, and he was eventually able to return to his ministry under limited conditions.