PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The priest sex abuse scandal has rocked the Catholic Church in Philadelphia and worldwide.

Accusations of abuse have popped up in places as far apart as Los Angeles and Ireland.

Now the Vatican is demanding Diocesan bishops make preventing clergy sexual abuse a top priority. The Vatican issued guidelines in a letter on Monday on how to handle reports of abuse, including treatment of victims and accused priests as the allegations are investigated.

But critics say the guidelines do not go far enough.

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“It seems to be more of an effort at damage control and placating the faithful that something is being done,” says Johanna Berrigan, a spokeswoman for SNAP and a House of Grace Catholic Worker.

They are not binding, critics say, and they fall short of the zero-tolerance policy already found in many countries. The policy removes priests from ministry during investigations of abuse.

The letter tells Diocesan bishops to develop their own policies for handling sexual abuse report within one year. Critics say abuse has existed in the church for decades, and this letter is too little, too late.

“With this particular document, nothing really changes, and nothing will happen to protect the children as a result of this document,” says Berrigan.

To read the complete letter, CLICK HERE.

For information on victim advocacy groups, visit the following websites:

Reported by Oren Liebermann, CBS 3

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