Action Alert!
Catholic World News

Vatican spokesman defends handling of abuse crisis

April 09, 2010

The director of the Vatian press office has released a lengthy prepared statement defending Church handling of sex-abuse problems and insisting that Pope Benedict XVI has been "a coherent guide along the path of rigor and truth."

Father Federico Lombardi acknowledges that there has been "no lack of criticism and unfounded insinuations" against the Pope, although his statement cites no specific instances. He complains that the Pope is being subjected to "the slow and gradual release of partial or presumed 'revelations' which seek to undermined (sic) his credibility, and that of other institutions or individuals of the Church."

The 1,250-word statement by Father Lombardi was released by Vatican Radio on April 9, and made available in an awkward English-language translation. In it the papal spokesman includes a reminder that Pope Benedict has met with abuse victims, and is prepared to do so again.

Writing in generalities about the different approaches that Catholic bishops have made to sex-abuse charges, Father Lombardi cites the need for following "the correct procedures for the canonical judgement of the guilty, and for collaborating with the civil authorities in matters concerning their judicial and penal competencies." He offers only a partial admission that "a number of leaders of communities and institutions, through inexperience or unpreparedness, have not had a ready understanding of the protocols and criteria for intervention."

The papal spokesman notes that sexual abuse is a problem facing all of society, and that the Church has implemented programs to protect young people in the future. He points to the "formation and selection of candidates for the priesthood" as a key area of concern for prevention of clerical abuse.


Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Jim.K - Apr. 10, 2010 11:38 AM ET USA

    "formation and selection of candidates for the priesthood" as a key area of concern for prevention of clerical abuse. Gee! Surprising that someone didn't think about doing that before!

  • Posted by: Cornelius - Apr. 09, 2010 3:16 PM ET USA

    These statements, however correct and clarifying they are, are just not getting into the secular press - they don't fit the template. The Pope has been tried and found guilty in the minds of these journalistic miscreants and no counter-evidence is admissible.