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Cardinal Levada lauds Pope's response to abuse scandal

February 08, 2012

Cardinal William Levada highlighted the efforts by Pope Benedict XVI to strengthen the Church’s response to sexual abuse, as he addressed a symposium on that topic at the Gregorian University.

The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith recalled how his predecessor, then-Cardinal Ratzinger, was instrumental in producing tough new norms for handling sex-abuse complaints in 2001. As Pontiff, he added, Benedict XVI has made a special point of meeting with abuse victims. Cardinal Levada observed:

For many if not most victims a first need is to be heard, to know that the Church listens to their stories of abuse, that the Church understands the gravity of what they have suffered, that she wants to accompany them on the often long path of healing, and that she has taken or is willing to take effective steps to ensure that other children will be protected from such abuse.

The American cardinal spoke of the need for bishops to “exercise even greater scrutiny in accepting candidates for the priesthood and religious life,” training programs to guard against abuse, and especially cooperation with civil authorities in response to allegations. He said: “The Church has an obligation to cooperate with the requirements of civil law regarding the reporting of such crimes to the appropriate authorities".


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