Vatican officials have faced tough questions at a UN hearing over what they were doing to prevent the sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy.
A United Nations panel in Geneva confronted officials over their handling of the issue and why they would not release data.
Last month, the Vatican refused a request from the UN's Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) for data on abuse, on the grounds that it only released such information if requested to do so by another country as part of legal proceedings.
The officials insisted on Thursday the Church had learnt from the crisis and had taken action to prevent future abuse.
Pope Francis announced last month that a Vatican committee would be set up to fight sexual abuse of children in the Church.
The Holy See is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a legally binding instrument which commits it to protecting and nurturing the most vulnerable in society, the BBC reports.
It ratified the convention in 1990 but after an implementation report in 1994 it did not submit any progress reports until 2012, following revelations of child sex abuse in Europe and beyond.
Asked why it continued to describe abuse as an offence against morals rather than a crime against children, Vatican representative Archbishop Silvano Tomasi said: "To prevent abuse of minors is a real, immediate concern."
On prosecution of offenders, he said priests were "not functionaries of the Vatican but citizens of their countries and fall under the jurisdiction of their own countries".
When asked if the Vatican would hand over Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, a Polish papal envoy recalled from the Dominican Republic in September amid claims of sexual abuse there, Archbishop Tomasi said he was being investigated by the Vatican's own prosecutors.