The head of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Justice Peter McClellan, revealed last month that he had personally written to the Vatican, seeking copies of all documents relating to complaints about abuse involving priests in Australia.
The Vatican has provided documents to the royal commission relating to two cases, but Justice McClellan wanted more information to find out how church authorities in Australia, under the guidance or direction of the Vatican, responded to allegations of abuse.
In a written response, the Vatican says the Holy See maintains the confidentiality of internal deliberations, adding that it would be inappropriate to provide such documents.
Leonie Sheedy, founder and chief executive of Care Leavers Australia Network, a support group for victims of child sexual abuse says the Catholic Church is treating the Australian public with contempt.
“I’m not surprised … I feel like the Catholic Church believes it is above the laws of Australia and probably the world,” she said.