Abuse Crisis Not Over, Says Cardinal Bagnasco

Opens General Assembly of the Italian Episcopate

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ROME, MAY 25, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The sexual abuse of minors by clergy is "a wicked emergency not yet overcome," says the president of the Italian Episcopal Conference.

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, who is also the archbishop of Genoa, said this Monday as he opened the 63rd General Assembly of the conference, under way in Rome.

The sexual abuse of minors, he said, "causes incalculable harm to young lives and their families, to whom we do not cease to show our pain and solidarity."

"We cannot compromise the integrity of our priests no matter what the cost," he said. "Just one case in this realm would be too much. When the cases then repeat themselves the laceration is unspeakable and the humiliation total."

"However the shadows, even the gravest and most painful, cannot darken the good that exists," continued the cardinal, confirming his "esteem and gratitude to our clergy who spend themselves with fidelity, sacrifice and joy, in the care of the Christian community."

The cardinal then promised that guidelines on preventing and handling sexual abuse cases will soon be completed for Italy.

The archbishop of Genoa spoke out against pedophilia earlier this month after the arrest of Father Riccardo Seppia, a parish priest in the Genoa archdiocese, on sex abuse and drug charges.