Pope Francis sets up commission on child sex abuse

Pope Francis is setting up a commission to advise him about protecting children from sexually abusive priests and about helping victims who have already been harmed.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston, announced the creation of the commission Thursday at the conclusion of a meeting between the pope and his eight cardinal advisers.

O’Malley told reporters the commission would study current programs to protect children, better screen priests, train church personnel and suggest new initiatives.

The announcement came days after the Vatican refused a UN request for information on alleged abuse by priests, nuns or monks.

One of the main Italian associations of clerical abuse survivors has said it has “little trust” in the Vatican.

Pope Francis has said dealing with sex abuse is vital for the Church’s credibility.

Earlier this week the Pope expressed his compassion for the many victims of sex abuse by priests around the world.

Cardinal O’Malley said the proposed panel of experts could provide codes of conduct for clergymen, guidelines for Church officials and better checks for would-be priests.

“Up until now there has been so much focus on the judicial parts of this but the pastoral part is very, very important. The Holy Father is concerned about that,” he said.

He added that the move was in line with the approach of the former Pope, Benedict XVI, who referred to the “filth” in the Catholic Church. Pope Benedict was, however, accused of failing to do enough to address the problem.

Vatican officials are due to be questioned about child abuse, among other issues, by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in January.

Sources

AP/Huffington Post
BBC
Religion News Service
Image: Reuters/Times of Malta

News category: World.

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