May 16, 2011. (Romereports.com)
The Vatican is asking all Episcopal Conferences to write specific guidelines on how to deal with cases of sexual abuse by priests. As a starting point, the Vatican says every report should include details on how to cooperate with civil authorities. It should also list ways to help victims. And above all, it should include how to monitor and prevent these crimes from happening. The guidelines must be submitted by each Episcopal Conference before May 2012.Fr. Federico Lombardi
Vatican spokesman "The purpose of the document is to provide a lowest common denominator of principles that all the Episcopal Conferences should include in their policies when dealing with cases of sexual abuse."
The Vatican's document is a letter that's already in the hands of all the Episcopal Conferences.
Although it doesn't include any new, substantial developments, it reiterates the policies of Pope Benedict XVI to all Catholic bishops. This includes listening to all victims of sexual abuse, repairing the damage and bringing guilty priests to justice.
The document also highlights that only bishops have the sole responsibility of dealing with cases of sexual abuse committed in their diocese.
Therefore, they must listen to anyone who wants to report a case of this nature. Then, they must take action against those priests or even employees of Catholic institutions who allegedly abused minors.
A new guideline states that all bishops should help parents and priests detect when a minor is being sexually abused. Fr. Federico Lombardi
"Bishops should find ways to recognize when a child is being abused. Parents and religious entities should also be trained on how to detect and deal with these situations.”
Once again, the Vatican ordered all bishops to monitor and improve the preparation of future priests. It emphasized that those who don't meet these conditions should be expelled from the seminary.
In addition, the document shows that from now on, future priests should be aware of the lasting and severe pain faced by victims of sexual abuse. It's also clear, that priest who ignore these rules will face canon and civil penalties.