Vatican resolving sexual abuse caseloads

Pope Francis has appointed two new officials to oversee the Vatican office responsible for looking after clerical sexual abuse cases.

A backlog of unresolved abuse cases has prompted the new appointments.

Attention has focused on the Vatican’s response to the clerical sexual abuse crisis since the beginning of last month.

That was when abuse survivor Marie Collins resigned from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (P.C.M.) citing Vatican resistance and lack of cooperation for her resignation.

Francis appointed Monsignor John Kennedy to head the discipline section of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.

The other official is Rev. Hans Zollner, one of the Catholic Church’s top experts on fighting abuse and protecting children.

Francis has also approved additional staff to the Congregation to handle abuse cases.

Some estimates suggest these cases take two to three years to process.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who heads Francis’ abuse advisory commission, said in a recent interview the Congregation needs more resources to deal with the caseload and related issues.

Francis appointed O’Malley to the commission earlier this year.

The congregation assumed responsibility for processing abuse cases in 2001 after Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) said  dioceses weren’t disciplining pedophiles as church law required.

The change required bishops and religious superiors to submit all credible accusations to the Congregation.

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