In a move that is seen as a sign of the changing attitude in Vatican, thousands of files containing details of the sexual abuse allegations - including child molestation - against 30 Catholic priests from the Chicago area will be released to the public.
The move took eight years, as only now a settlement has been reached between the victim advocates and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago.
A report, published in the NYTimes, noted that half of the accused priests were dead, while many of the victims have reached a financial settlement. Earlier last week, several senior Vatican officials were grilled by a UN committee over allegations of child sex abuse.
It was the first time that the Vatican was forced to answer questions publicly, over its handling of cases of sexual abuse and pedophile priests. The move by the Chicago Archdiocese follows on the same path of transparency.
Over the years, the Catholic sex abuse cases have raised much concern across the world. In the last few years, there has been a series of allegations, investigations, trials and convictions of child sexual abuse crimes, committed by Catholic priests, nuns and members of Roman Catholic orders.
As per reports published by the BishopAccountability.org, an "online archive established by lay Catholics, around 3,000 civil lawsuits have been filed against the church, in the United States alone. In one case in 1998, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas had paid $30.9 million to 12 victims of a priest. From 2003 to 2009, the Vatican has paid a total of US$ 1.1 billion in lawsuits.
The NYTimes report, quoting a letter by the Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago Archdiocese, noted, “Publishing for all to read the actual records of these crimes raises transparency to a new level.”