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Rome Reports

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Vatican on abuse in Pennsylvania: Victims should know pope is on their side

The Vatican has commented on the revelations of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania report, which points to 301 priests as guilty of sexual abuse. The victims are around 1,000 children subjected to terrible abuses during the last 70 years in six different dioceses. According to the Pennsylvania prosecutor's office, there have been systematic cover-ups of these cases by some members in local churches and in “some cases” at the Vatican.

In a statement, the Holy See says that, firstly, “Victims should know the pope is on their side. Those who have suffered are his priority, and the Church wants to listen to them to root out this tragic horror that destroys the lives of the innocent.”

The Vatican also expresses its “shame and sorrow,” and treats with “great seriousness” this report from the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

Director of the Holy See Press Office
“The Church has to learn hard lessons from the past, there has to be accountability, not only for those who abuse, but also for those who permitted the abuse.”

The Holy See recognizes that “those acts were betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of their dignity and their faith.” It's something that Pope Francis knows well, and he “reiterates the call to make every effort to create a safe environment for minors and vulnerable adults in the Church and in all of society.”

Thus, the Vatican recalls that the Catholic Church, at all levels, must constantly reform and monitor to guarantee the protection of minors and vulnerable adults. It also stresses “the need to comply with civil law, including mandatory child abuse reporting requirements.”