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Fr Zollner © Pontifical Gregorian University

How to Combat Scourge? Hold Bishops Accountable Personally and Institutionally

In Wake of ‘Horrific’ Finding of PA Grand Jury Report, Fr. Zollner Shares Reaction

It is necessary to find a way to make bishops accountable personally and institutionally…

In an interview with Vatican News, Father Hans Zollner, of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and head of Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University’s Center for Child Protection, stressed this, in wake of the findings of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury’s Report that found 300 priests engaged in abuse of more than 1,000 victims.

When asked about what ought to be concretely done to combat this scourge, Fr. Zollner recognized: “Anger is directed especially against Bishops and there the action will need to be how do we find a way so that a bishop and a priest is also held accountable personally and institutionally.”

Up to now on this point, the expert and priest noted, Church law has been vague.

“You cannot regain trust,” he stressed, “without working steadily, consistently towards a Church that is clearly and visibly and in a committed way a safe place for all those who are vulnerable.”

The Vatican responded on August 16, 2018, to the findings in a statement from Vatican Press Office Director Greg Burke which stressed the Holy See ‘condemns unequivocally’ sexual abuse of minors, and that such acts are “criminally and morally reprehensible.” It also highlighted that the Church is determined to listen to victims ‘to root out this tragic horror that destroys the lives of the innocent’ and that the Pope is on the victims’ side.

Today, August 20, 2018, Pope Francis published a letter in seven languages to the People of God, acknowledging that in perpetuating or covering up these historic crimes, the Church has “abandoned” Her “little ones.”

“Looking ahead to the future,” the Pope stressed, “no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated.”

About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight, and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, and EWTN. For 'The Other Francis': or

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