Vatican officer thanks media for uncovering abuse scandal

The new promoter of justice at the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has said the news media did the Church a service by uncovering the clerical abuse scandal.

“I think that certainly those who continued to put before us that we need to confront this problem did a service,” Father Robert Oliver said in response to a question at his first public appearance since taking up the position.

“They [the media] helped to keep the energy, if you will, to keep the movement going so that we would, honestly and with transparency, and with our strength, confront what is true,” he said.

“Every single one of us begins with denial,” he added. “I think the leaders of the Church, the members of the Church, we are no different from anyone else. In the beginning our reaction was ‘no this is not possible, people don’t do this to children’.”

Father Oliver, an American, is responsible for addressing cases of child sexual abuse by clergy.

He said the congregation is currently examining 600 cases, most of which involve abuse that allegedly took place between 1965 and 1985.

In some parts of the world, Fr Oliver said, bishops and other Catholics are just starting to become aware of the problem and their need to enact measures to protect children and deal with allegations.

In 2011, the doctrinal congregation asked every bishops’ conference in the world to submit guidelines for assisting victims; protecting children; selecting and training priests and religious; dealing with accused priests; and collaborating with local authorities.

Father Oliver said “three-quarters” of the world’s 112 bishops’ conferences have sent in guidelines, and the congregation has just begun responding with observations and suggestions. Most of the countries that have not yet responded are in Africa, he said.


Catholic News Service


Image: Euronews

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