VATICAN CITY, MARCH 26, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The Church in the United States has been particularly successful in responding to recent sexual abuse scandals with greater protection for children, says the Vatican spokesman.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of Vatican Radio, stated this Saturday in a commentary on recent news regarding the abuse of children by clergy.
The priest, also the director of the Vatican press office, acknowledged that “it is no surprise” that “the issue of the sexual abuse of minors by members of the Catholic clergy continues to be widely presented by the media in many countries.”
“The way that the Church faces it is crucial for her moral credibility,” he said.
Although many of these “cases brought to the public’s attention occurred some time ago,” the spokesman said, “recognizing them and making amends in regard to the victims is the price of the reestablishment of justice.
He pointed to “numerous positive signs from the different bishops’ conferences, individual bishops and Catholic institutions of various countries on different continents” that build confidence for the future.
For example, Father Lombardi said, “the directives for the correct handling and prevention of abuses have been reemphasized, updated and renewed in Germany, Austria, Australia, and Canada.”
He continued: “In particular good news comes from the 7th annual report on the application of the ‘Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People’ of the Church in the United States.
“Without indulging in a satisfaction that would be out of place, one cannot but recognize the extraordinary effort of prevention accomplished with numerous courses of formation and training both for young people and for all pastoral and educational personnel.”
He acknowledged that “the number of accusations of abuse has fallen by 30%, most having to do with incidents that occurred more than 30 years ago.”
“Without entering into other details,” the priest added, “it must be admitted that the measures decided upon and in place are showing themselves to be effective.”
He continued: “The Church in the United States has taken the good road for renewing itself.
“We think that this is important news in the context of the recent media attacks, which have undoubtedly caused damage.”
The spokesman added that “the authority of the Pope and the intense and consistent commitment of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith have not been weakened but confirmed in supporting and orienting the episcopates in combating and uprooting abuses wherever they manifest themselves.”
He concluded, “With humility and confidence, in the spirit of penance and hope, the Church now enters Holy Week asking for the mercy and grace of the Lord who suffers and rises for all.”
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