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Europe

Vatican to issue guidelines on sex abuse to bishops

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-11-19

The Vatican has announced prospective guidelines for the Catholic Church in order to combat sexual abuse of children by priests. Plans drawn up by the world’s top cardinals include screening priests and increasing cooperation with civil authorities.

 AP - The Vatican said Friday it was planning to issue a set of guidelines to bishops around the world on how to respond effectively to the sexual abuse of children by priests that will include recommendations for prevention programs, better screening of priests and responding to civil reporting requirements.

 
Cardinal William Levada, who heads the Vatican office that deals with clerical sex abuse cases, told cardinals from around the world of the guidelines during a daylong summit Friday that dealt in part with the sex abuse scandal.
 
A Vatican statement said Levada discussed the need for bishops to collaborate with civil authorities in reporting abuse, the need to protect children and the need for an “attentive selection and formation” of future priests. It said the guidelines, in the form of a letter to bishops’ conferences, would suggest a “coordinated and efficient program” to crack down on abuse.
 
Levada has previously said he thought the tough, zero-tolerance applied in U.S. could be a model for bishops conferences globally. Those norms were developed in 2002 after the clerical abuse scandal erupted in the United States.
 
The scandal erupted anew earlier this year in Europe and beyond with thousands of reports of priests who molested children, bishops who covered up for them and Vatican officials who turned a blind eye for decades. The Vatican has been reeling from the fallout, and included the issue on its agenda for a one-day summit of cardinals who were gathering in Rome for a ceremony on Saturday to name 24 new cardinals.
 
The Vatican statement said several cardinals spoke during the meeting of the need to encourage bishops’ conferences to develop “efficient, prompt, articulated, complete and decisive plans to protect minors” that took into account the need for various types of intervention, including the need for the “reestablishment of justice, assistance to victims, prevention and formation” - even in countries where the problem hasn’t been felt.
 
The main U.S. victims group, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, was not impressed, saying children remain at risk.
 
“We didn’t have high hopes for this meeting because these church officials are the same men who ignored and concealed, and are largely still ignoring and concealing, horrific crimes against kids,” said David Clohessy, SNAP’s national director.

 

Date created : 2010-11-19

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