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Most bishops’ conferences miss Vatican deadline on drafting abuse guidelines

By on Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Mgr Scicluna pictured at a penitential vigil in Rome (CNS photo)

Mgr Scicluna pictured at a penitential vigil in Rome (CNS photo)

Most of the bishops’ conferences around the world have missed a Vatican deadline on drawing up anti-abuse guidelines, it emerged yesterday.

But Mgr Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s top investigator of clerical sex abuse, said that many bishops’ conferences in Africa drafted guidelines in time but were let down by the very slow post. He said that without counting Africa “more than half of the conferences responded” to the May deadline.

Mgr Scicluna, promoter of justice in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was speaking in an interview with the Italian monthly magazine Jesus.

He said that all those who did not send in their proposed guidelines would be getting “a letter of reminder”.

The Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, quoted from the interview yesterday and said that the congregation received an encouraging number of responses from Anglo-Saxon countries, “but also Europe, Asia and Latin America have high percentages of responses”.

While the result is gratifying, Mgr Scicluna said in the interview, Africa “has a particular situation with great difficulty in Church structures”, presumably referring to the lack of needed communications and other infrastructure that help a nation’s bishops draw up national policies.

Evaluating each country’s proposed policies and guidelines for dealing with cases of clerical sexual abuse of minors will take “at least a year”, and that process will not begin until after the summer, he said.

More than 4,000 cases of sexual abuse have been reported to the doctrinal office over the past decade, the office reported earlier this year. Cardinal William Levada, former prefect of the CDF, said those cases revealed that an exclusively canonical response to the crisis had been inadequate and that a multifaceted and more pro-active approach by all bishops and religious orders was needed.

Countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia and Germany are among those with the most comprehensive and binding guidelines or norms, but in many cases, those norms came only in the wake of revelations in the media of abuse, the cardinal said.

Bishops’ conferences have been encouraged to develop “effective, quick, articulated, complete and decisive plans for the protection of children”, bringing perpetrators to justice and assisting victims, “including in countries where the problem has not manifested itself in as dramatic a way as in others”, the Vatican said in November 2010.

  • daclamat

    surprised?

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

    TAKE NOTE, PLEASE, ALL THOSE WHO SAY THAT POPE BENEDICT IS NOT DOING ANYTHING ABOUT CHILD SEX ABUSE.

  • http://twitter.com/johnsoncairo Dominic

    This in’t about form filling or pointless bureaucracy: this is important. All those dioceses that routinely  ignore Vatican requests and ignore the magisterium need to take a long hard look at themselves.

  • Jonathan West

    Well, whether he can be regarded as doing anything depends on what (if anything) the Vatican expects to see in the policies concerning the reporting of allegations of abuse to the secular authorities.

    England and Wales is often held up as a place where things are being done right and an example to the rest of the Catholic church, but there are still far too many places with policies which contain wording apparently designed to provide wriggle room to allow for non-reporting.

    You would have thought for instance that Ealing Abbey & St Benedict’s School, after all the publicity they have had over abuse, would have worked hard to get an absolutely watertight policy.

    Not a bit of it, the school’s policy is still full of wording which is worryingly vague, and the objectives for the year concerning safeguarding improvements are even vaguer.

    Now, if Ealing Abbey is still in such a state, where horrific abuse has definitely happened, I dread to think how many places that have not been so much in the spotlight have even poorer policies, and I wonder at the attitude of the Diocese of Westminster and the purpose of the Apostolic Visitation to Ealing.

    After all, there hasn’t been any published report concerning the findings of the Apostolic Visitation? So was it set up just for the purpose of showing that Something Is Being Done, without any intention to effect real improvements?

  • Parasum

    “Most of the bishops’ conferences around the world have missed a Vatican deadline on drawing up anti-abuse guidelines, it emerged yesterday.

    But Mgr Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s top investigator of clerical sex abuse, said that without counting Africa “more than half of the conferences responded” to the May deadline.”

    ## The second sentence contradicts the first – AFAICS.

  • Brian

    The bishops seem to have decided they’re in charge of their diocese and not the pope.

  • http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/ The Catholic Herald

    Dear Parasum, 
    Mgr Scicluna adds the caveat ‘without counting Africa’. If most of the world’s conferences had responded to the deadline Mgr Scicluna would have said so, without any caveats. Therefore, we assume that less than half of the conferences responded. That is the only possibility (unless the conferences are split exactly evenly between those that responded and those that did not).
    Kind regards, 
    Mark

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

     
    IN ANY INSTITUTION THE GRASS-ROOT LEVEL AUTHORITIES ARE IN CHARGE AND NOT THE POPE. HERE THE PARISHNERS SHOULD PLAY THEIR RIGHTFUL ROLE.

  • Jonathan West

    In that case, it doesn’t matter what the Pope does, and therefore you have no business trying to award him credit for it.

  • Greenmoon

    Perhaps Mgr Scicluna should extend his thinking a bit further. If he didn’t count all of the conferences who had not responded then he could claim a 100% response rate – success.

  • Parasum

    I understood him to mean that “more than half of the conferences responded””, and that those in Africa had done so as well.

  • hongshaoyu

    tinyurl.com/73huk6r

  • Ex catholic now disgusted

    All the above is semantics.  It is
    2012 yet still no Vatican guide lines exist and all the debate is about the
    percentage of conferences that have responded. It is unbelievable that
    just one has not responded given the grave subject matter. Its window dressing
    as usual with the Vatican/Catholic Church more concerned with its
    own reputation than victims or ensuring there is no repeat of these
    unforgivable crimes

  • darren pearce

    Fr. Thomas PoovathinkalCollapse

    TAKE NOTE, PLEASE, ALL THOSE WHO SAY THAT POPE BENEDICT IS NOT DOING ANYTHING ABOUT CHILD SEX ABUSE.you seem to have forgotten that benedict was head of the cdf for nearly 25 years and saw thousands of abuse cases come through his office, what did he do about it?he told his bishops to keep it in house, the peadophile hider general should be tried as a criminal, because thats what he clearly is.