The Church’s abuse scandals are declining
The Vatican’s top anti-abuse prosecutor said that the number of reported paedophilia cases involving clerics was declining but had reached alarming levels in the rest of society.
Monsignor Charles Scicluna of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith also said that a major international conference on the abuse scandals being in Rome next week showed the Church’s willingness to respond with determination.
Speaking in an interview with the Italian website Vatican Insider, Mgr Scicluna said: “In churches where a code of silence was imposed for a long time, the number of reported cases reached a peak and is now gradually declining.
“The recent data on a global level... in civil society is truly alarming,” said the Vatican’s “Promoter of Justice”, a type of prosecutor, giving as an example the increase in cases of child abuse reported to a hotline in Italy.
Mgr Scicluna said participants at next week’s conference – including representatives of 110 national bishops’ conferences and the leaders of 30 religious orders – had been advised to meet with victims before attending.
Psychologists, experts and victims will also be taking part at the conference entitled Towards Healing and Renewal and hosted by the Vatican’s Gregorian University, which has been under preparation since June.
The Catholic Church has been badly shaken by thousands of paedophilia scandals in Europe and the United States, many of them dating back decades.
Thousands of clergy took part in the abuse of children and the hierarchy often tried to cover up the scandals by simply transferring guilty priests.