Head of Vatican abuse panel admits Church failures in the past
Panel aims to spread its influence worldwide
Picture: Religion News Service
- Josephine McKenna for Religion News Service
- Vatican City
- May 5, 2014
The Roman Catholic Church failed to recognize the worldwide reach of clerical sexual abuse, Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley said Saturday (May 3) at a press conference.
"Many don't see it as a problem of the universal church," said O'Malley who heads the Vatican's new commission for the protection of minors.
"In many people's minds it is an American problem, an Irish problem or a German problem," he said. "The church has to face it is everywhere in the world. There is so much denial. The church has to respond to make the church safe for children."
O'Malley, whose Boston archdiocese was at the center of a wave of sex scandals that rocked the church a decade ago, addressed the media after the panel's eight members held its first meeting in Rome.
Pope Francis announced the creation of the new committee in March. It includes Irish abuse victim and campaigner Marie Collins and two psychiatrists. But the committee is expected to expand to represent every continent around the world.
"We wish to express our heartfelt solidarity with all victims/survivors of sexual abuse as children and vulnerable adults," O'Malley read from a prepared statement.
"We will propose initiatives to encourage local responsibility around the world and the mutual sharing of 'best practices' for the protection of all minors, including programs for training, education, formation and responses to abuse."
Collins, who was sexually abused by a priest at age 13, said she, too, had been "shocked" by the denial she had witnessed among some Catholic bishops about the extent of clerical sexual abuse.
"...They truly believed it only happened in certain countries," she said.
Source: Religion News Service