Vatican spokesman cites progress on handling abuse
March 29, 2010
In a remarkable statement responding to intense worldwide criticism of the Church response to sexual abuse, the director of the Vatican press office has made the claim that Church leaders are responding adequately, citing the American bishops' "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" as a conspicuous example of an effective response.
In his March 27 statement, Father Federico Lombardi acknowledged that the handling of sex-abuse claims is a major concern, "and the way in which the Church deals with it is crucial for her moral credibility."
The abuse cases now coming to the fore in media reports, Father Lombardi noted, "took place some time ago, even decades ago." While he recognized the need for "purification of memory," he said that bishops in many countries have moved decisively to combat abuse in the future. He noted that in the US, following the adoption of the "Dallas charter" in 2002, reports of abuse have dropped dramatically. Father Lombardi concluded his statement with the claim that "recent media attacks, which have undoubtedly proved harmful," have not actually injured the credibility of Church leaders but "rather they have been confirmed in their support and guidance to bishops to combat and root out the blight of abuse wherever it appears."
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