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Rome Reports

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Vatican launches a “task force” to help bishops prevent, address clerical sexual abuse


One year after the Abuse Summit, the Vatican has presented a concrete way for bishops conferences around the world to prevent further sex abuse: a task force. 

It is a group of experts who will help bishops, laity and religious congregations listen to victims and survivors, help with the formation of priests, laity and sisters and finally teach how to respond to an accusation. 

Andrew Azzopardi, director of the Safeguarding Commission for minors and vulnerable adults will be the coordinator of the task force in Rome. He will be assisted by canon law experts from various countries.

MSGR. JUAN IGNACIO ARRIETA
Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts
The task force will help institutions establish guidelines.
They will have to indicate in these guidelines how to handle cases, the behaviors, and the guardianship attitudes. All these issues are provided in the rules. The bishops around the world will have answers and have to apply these rules. The task force will help them with the documents that will serve as guidelines to follow, as a reference for all.

FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI
Moderator, “Protection of Minors in the Church”
“The people who form this group don't all work in the same place. They can also work in different places. However, the coordinator, who receives the requests for help from the episcopal conferences, is who are in charge of preparing an answer, a study, or a proposal to answer the questions he's been sent."

The task force will not deal with the legal parts of the cases. It is specifically for preventative measures and helping bishops, who don't know what to do, handle cases and avoid further ones in the future. 

While there is no concrete office or website to address all the episcopal conferences, bishops can send any questions or concerns to [email protected]

Melissa Butz