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Italian bishops issue abuse norms

Catholic World News - May 24, 2012

Prodded by a 2011 Vatican document, the Italian bishops’ conference has issued guidelines on the clerical abuse of minors. 135 allegations were reported to Italian bishops between 2000 and 2012, according to the conference’s general secretary.

The new guidelines state that the bishop “always must be available to listen to the victim and the victim's family, assuring them that all care will be taken to treat the case with justice and making a commitment to offer spiritual and psychological support, while respecting the freedom of the victim” to report the matter to civil authorizes.

While “the cooperation of the bishop is important” in civil investigations, the guidelines state that bishops are not obliged by the nation’s civil law to refer allegations to police.

Bishops are already required to refer credible allegations of clerical sexual abuse of minors to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

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