News / Europe

Vatican Posts Online Guide Against Sexual Abuse by Clergy

A screen grab from a section of the Vatican website entitled "ABUSE OF MINORS. THE CHURCH'S RESPONSE"
A screen grab from a section of the Vatican website entitled "ABUSE OF MINORS. THE CHURCH'S RESPONSE"
TEXT SIZE - +
Sabina Castelfranco

The Vatican announced on Monday that bishops and other Roman Catholic church officials must report clerical sex abuse to law enforcement authorities.  The Vatican posted a new guide on the Internet for lay people.

As pressure mounts on the Catholic Church over its handling of sexual abuse cases by priests and with Pope Benedict XVI also being criticized for his response to the crisis, a new guide for lay people was posted on the Vatican's Web site.  It makes clear that suspected abuse by priests must be reported to the police.

Vatican scholar Marco Politi says these guidelines are short and simple as opposed to the 2001 norms on how to deal with cases of sexual abuse by priests that were written for bishops and canon lawyers.

"These guidelines are very important not only from a practical point of view because they tell exactly what a bishop has to do, but also because they show the determination of the Pope to follow the zero tolerance line," said Marco Politi. "The Pope wants the victims to be listened to.  The Pope wants that nothing has to be covered up from now on.  And the Pope wants that these priests are punished, are removed and are brought before state courts."

As outlined in the online guide, bishops should investigate every allegation and any accusation with "a semblance of the truth" that is referred to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  This enforcement body - once run by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict - is being criticized by those representing victims of abuse for having responded too late or too leniently.

Again, Marco Politi:

"The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, of course, has always worked with great secrecy," he said. "And now it is in a transition.  It must also learn to be quick in answering the issues, to be very transparent in its policy and also to give exact figures."

But the latest effort by the Vatican has done little to appease victims of sexual abuse.  The U.S.-based Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests is calling for "deeds, not words" and says "church policies, whether online or not, are largely irrelevant" because bishops could easily ignore them.

The editor of the Vatican newspaper l'Osservatore Romano, Giovanni Maria Vian, on Monday defended Pope Benedict as a "great communicator."  He said there is a media campaign against the Pope and he criticized poor standards of reporting.   

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid