Catholic bishops to be trained in how to deal with sex abuse in the Church

File Under:  I wonder who will do the training.

By Carey Lodge

As part of efforts to root out sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, newly appointed bishops will take part in training on how to deal with child abuse, it was announced on Monday.

Pope Francis has denounced clerical abuse as "intolerable" and "the most terrible and unclean thing imaginable".
Pope Francis has denounced clerical abuse as “intolerable” and “the most terrible and unclean thing imaginable”.

Members of the sex abuse commission set up by Pope Francis, who has taken a hard line on the issue during his papacy, will deliver the training.

Scores of allegations of sex abuse by clergy have been made against the Catholic Church in recent years, and the Vatican admitted in 2014 that it had defrocked almost 850 priests in the past decade as a result.

Pope Francis has denounced clerical abuse as “intolerable” and “the most terrible and unclean thing imaginable”, and has met with survivors several times.

The panel of experts is made up of clerics and lay people, including women, and has thus far struggled to be fully accepted within the Church’s power structure.

The decision to draw on the expertise of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors comes after a French monsignor who taught so-called “baby bishops” courses for new Church leaders, caused an uproar by telling them they did not necessarily have to report abuse to civil authorities.

Monsignor Tony Anatrella was later rebuked by the president of the commission, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, who said bishops had “a moral and ethical responsibility” to do so.

The worldwide sex abuse scandal first came to light in Boston in 2001 when it was revealed that predatory priests were shunted from parish to parish instead of being defrocked and handed over to the police.

Francis has compared the abuse of children by priests to devil worship and vowed a “zero tolerance” approach, setting up the commission in 2014, a year after taking office, to advise him on how to root out sexual abuse within the Church.

But some commission members have complained about the slow pace of change in the Vatican and a British member who went public with his criticisms was put on leave of absence after the panel passed a no-confidence motion in him.

Peter Saunders, head of Britain’s National Association for People Abused in Childhood, who was abused by two priests as a child, called for the commission to go beyond its advisory mandate and speak out on specific cases.

After the commission met over the weekend, it was decided it would participate in two courses in the Vatican for new bishops, including the one that the French monsignor Anatrella spoke to last year.

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