Church Multiplies Resources to Fight Sex Abuse

2012 Conference Planned at Gregorian; Database in Preparation

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ROME, JUNE 21, 2011 (Zenit.org).- A conference at the Pontifical Gregorian University in February and an electronic database with best practices and research results are two more means the Church is offering to the global fight against sexual abuse.

The Feb. 6-8, 2012, conference, "Toward Healing and Renewal," was presented at the Gregorian on Saturday.

Some 200 participants will analyze the pastoral, juridical and psychological aspects of abuse. The program will serve as an aid for episcopal conferences worldwide, which have been asked to turn into the Vatican by May 2012 their guidelines for dealing with sexual abuse.

Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will participate.

Other participants include Sheila Hollins, professor of psychiatry at St. George's University in London and an independent member of the House of Lords, who accompanied Cardinal Cormack Murphy O'Connor on the apostolic visit to Ireland; Monsignor Steve Rosetti, who has created a program of residential treatment for clerics and religious; as well as Father Edenio Valle, creator of a similar program in São Paulo, Brazil.

Prevention

An electronic database is scheduled to be presented at the seminar. The multi-lingual resource is being designed to give information to the Church's leaders on the fight against abuse.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, called the symposium a "stage in the long process of the Church" to address and put an end to abuses.

He spoke of it as more than a meeting of experts, and pointed to both the Pope's example and the norms of Canon Law in defending victims, preventing abuse and purifying the Church.

Monsignor Charles Scicluna, promoter of justice for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said that education is key in the Church's fight against sexual abuse.

"It is necessary to educate the ecclesial community, beginning with the clergy, so that the contribution of initiatives such as the Gregorian's will become an integral part of prevention," he said.

The monsignor added that there is a need for "education at the base, namely, of families and of minors themselves, provided and adapted to the child's age, which will help to create an environment where it will be easier to recognize and prevent this sin."

[Reporting by Mariaelena Finessi]