- Jan 27, 2020
Members of the Vatican’s commission for protecting young people in the Church have been listening to victims and survivors of abuse in Rome, while also pointing out they have no remit to investigate individual allegations of abuse.
In its efforts to help advise the pope, the Roman Curia, bishops’ conferences and local churches on protecting minors from abuse, a Vatican commission listened to abuse survivors from Great Britain and discussed the results of Australia’s public inquiry into its country’s institutional responses to abuse.
Jesuit Father Hans Zollner spoke at the graduation ceremony for students who have completed a course in safeguarding people from abuse held at the Jesuit-run Pontifical Gregorian University.
At a Rome conference focused on including people with disabilities in parish life, an engaging young woman is planning to tell Pope Francis that she worries she may be part of the final generation with Down syndrome, given the very high abortion rates for Down syndrome babies in countries with wide pre-natal screening programs.
“The conscience of the Church arrived a little late” on sexual abuse, Pope Francis said during an audience at the Vatican, adding that sexual abuse is a “sickness” and that there will be no pardon for abusers who are found guilty. Abuse survivor Marie Collins praised the pope’s words, but stated that the ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy is “toothless” without accountability.
Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley, head of a Vatican commission advising Pope Francis on the fight against clerical sexual abuse, insists the Vatican remains committed to holding bishops accountable for enforcing zero tolerance, but concedes “we need to see how it’s going to work.”