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Experts praise Pope Benedict's handling of sex-abuse reforms

February 18, 2013

Two Vatican experts on sex-abuse policies have agreed, in separate interviews, that Pope Benedict XVI deserves credit for an energetic response to the scandal within the Church.

Bishop Charles Scicluna, who was the top Vatican prosecutor in sex-abuse cases before his recent appointment as an auxiliary bishop in his native Malta, told Vatican Radio: “Pope Benedict XVI will certainly be remembered for his extraordinary reply and response to the very sad phenomenon of sexual abuse of minors by the clergy.”

Father Hans Zollner, a Jesuit who heads the Institute of Psychology at the Gregorian University, said that criticism of Pope Benedict on his handling of the sex-abuse issue is misguided. That criticism, he added, might be traced to “his public image as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,” and the fact that many media reports portrayed him as a hard-line defender of entrenched policies.

Father Zollner admitted that the Church still needs to address remaining questions about the way sexual abuse was handled. The most important lingering question he said, is the accountability of bishops who tolerated abuse. Father Zollner reminded his interviewer that Bishop Scicluna spoke of the same problem in an earlier interview.


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