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Rome Reports

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Vatican says Australian report on abuses "deserves to be studied seriously"

For the past five years in Australia, the Royal Commission has investigated how public and private institutions in the country have acted in the face of child sexual abuse.

Its president, Peter McClellan, acknowledges that it is not only a question of the past and abuses continue to be committed today.

In the case of the Catholic Church, between the years 1950 and 2009, seven out of every hundred priests abused minors. From that time period, 4,444 cases have been registered. 

The official commission has recommended that the Church be more transparent and take two concrete measures: 

- Priests reveal people who confess having committed abuses.

- That priestly celibacy be eliminated.

The president of the Australian bishops, Denis Hart, who asked for forgiveness on behalf of the Church, said he will take the recommendations seriously, but that "the secret of confession can not be broken." He also said that the priests will advise whoever is accused of this sin to also go to the police.

The Vatican has not assessed the recommendations, but in this note it said that the full report "deserves to be studied seriously"

In addition, it says the Holy See supports the initiatives of the Catholic Church in Australia to "listen to and accompany victims and survivors in an effort to bring about healing and justice."

It added that the pope recently recalled that "the Church is committed to safe environments for the protection of all children and vulnerable adults."