January 31, 2012. (Romereports.com)
The Vatican has sponsored an international conference on how to cope with cases of sexual abuse. It's being addressed only to bishops and superiors of religious orders. There they will learn how to listen to victims, how to prevent new cases, and how to help the victims in the healing process. Among the speakers will be cardinals, experts in the field, and a victim of abuse.
The meeting will be held at the Pontifical Gregorian University from February 6th to the 9th. The Vatican wants to make sure everyone is clear that in a case of sexual abuse, their first thoughts must be for the victims. The event is being called “Towards healing and renewal”.
They plan to show success stories from different support groups for victims of sex abuse and how to help prevention, such as the program “Virtus”. It works with children and adults in 100 U.S. dioceses.
There is already over 100 confirmed representatives coming from bishops' conferences for the meeting, There will also be 30 superiors from religious orders.
The idea began in May of 2011, when the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith asked the bishops' conferences and religious orders to define how to handle allegations of abuse. This meeting will help them to find a “concrete and consistent answer”.
One of the challenges of the conference is the launch of a multilingual virtual platform to spread the best practices on how to quickly and effectively deal with these cases.
Helping to organize the event is the Jesuit psychologist Hans Zollner, one of the world's leading experts in helping abuse victims.
And among the many speakers, will be Cardinal William Joseph Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican's prosecutor for cases of abuse, Charles Scicluna, as well as psychiatrist Sheila Hollins.