Pope Setting Up Commission on the Sexual Abuse of Children by Priests
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of New York Times
Posted: December 10th, 2013
In his first concrete step to address the clerical sexual-abuse problem in the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis will establish a commission to advise him on protecting children from pedophile priests and on how to counsel victims, the Vatican said. The announcement was a forthright acknowledgment by the Vatican of the enduring problem of abusive priests, and fit with Francis pattern of willingness to set a new tone in the governance of the church nine months into his tenure. Whether the new commission portends a significant change in how the Vatican deals with abusive priests and their protectors remains to be seen, experts on the church said. Yet the timing of the announcement, two days after a United Nations panel criticized the Vatican over its handling of abuse cases, suggested that the pope and his closest advisers wanted to at least be seen as tackling the issue with greater firmness. Soon after he became pope, Francis directed the Vatican last April to act decisively on abuse cases and punish pedophile priests, in a meeting with subordinates at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the churchs enforcement arm. The announcement elicited a mixed reaction, reflecting some skepticism, particularly among victims and their advocates, over whether a new commission would be more than cosmetic. The commission will have a broad mandate including the development of norms, procedures and strategies for the protection of children and the prevention of abuse of minors, the Vatican said in a statement.
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