Is the Media Helping People or Confusing Them?

Vatican Spokesman Responds to Sex Abuse Scandal

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 11, 2010 ( The director of the Vatican press office is suggesting three steps for responding to the scandal of sexual abuse of minors. He is also calling communicators to a love for the truth if they wish to «serve rather than confuse.»

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi responded to the ongoing scandal in a statement published Friday by Vatican Radio.

He began by recommending steps to «sail through these stormy waters while maintaining a secure course.»

First, he called for «continuing to seek truth and peace for the victims.» Father Lombardi noted how «so many inner wounds» are coming to light, though they date back many years or even decades.

«There is something that we have yet to fully understand; perhaps we need a more profound experience of events that have had such a negative impact on the lives of individuals, of the Church and of society,» the Jesuit reflected. «[…] Abuse opens wounds at a deep inner level.»

In addition to concern for victims, the Vatican spokesman affirmed, there must continue to be an implementing of «correct procedures for the canonical judgment of the guilty, and for collaborating with the civil authorities in matters concerning their judicial and penal competencies.»

Father Lombardi said that only in this way «can we hope effectively to rebuild a climate of justice and complete trust in the ecclesiastical institution.»

He acknowledged that various leaders «have not had a ready understanding of the protocols and criteria for intervention.»

Finally, the Vatican spokesman reiterated the importance of selecting and forming candidates for the priesthood.

«Achieving a healthy maturity of the personality, also from a sexual point of view, has always been a difficult challenge, but today it is particularly so,» he contended.

Father Lombardi noted how the greatest frequency of abuse coincided with the most intense period of the sexual revolution.

«Formation must take account of this context and of the more general context of secularization,» he said. «In the final analysis, this means rediscovering and reaffirming the sense and importance of sexuality, chastity and emotional relationships in today’s world.»

Church response

Father Lombardi said that those who seek truth and an objective evaluation of the situation can find information on it and thus «will be able to achieve a better understanding of the degree to which the Catholic Church shares problems that are not only her own, to what extent they have particular gravity for her and require specific interventions, and, finally, the extent to which the experience the Church is going through in this field may also be useful for other institutions or for society as a whole.»

In this context, the Vatican spokesman lamented that «the communications media have not yet worked sufficiently.»

Father Lombardi went on to defend Benedict XVI as a «coherent guide along the path of rigor and truth,» saying the Pope «merits all respect and support, testimony of which is reaching him from all parts of the Church.»

«He is a pastor well capable of facing — with great rectitude and confidence — this difficult time in which there is no lack of criticism and unfounded insinuations,» the priest stated. «It must be said that he is a Pope who has spoken a lot about the Truth of God and about respect for truth; and he has become a credible witness of this. We accompany him, learning from him the constancy necessary to grow in truth and transparency, continuing to open our horizons to the serious problems of the world and responding patiently to the slow and gradual release of partial or presumed ‘revelations’ which seek to undermine his credibility, and that of other institutions or individuals of the Church.

«This patient and solid love of truth is necessary, in the Church, in the society in which we live, in communicating and in writing, if we wish to serve rather than confuse our fellow men and women.»

— — —

On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full text:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation