- Jul 31, 2021
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors met online and, for those who could, in Rome for their plenary assembly Sept. 16-18.
In reporting historical and recent abuse of minors, the media should broaden its focus to include portrayals of survivors as active agents of reform, one survivor said.
In a webinar talk on child protection, a top expert in the field warned that the risks of online child sexual abuse or exploitation has significantly increased during the coronavirus pandemic, yet attention to the issue has faded.
German Jesuit Father Hans Zollner has acknowledged that the decision of Australia’s top court to acquit Cardinal George Pell of child abuse might make it harder for victims to come forward, stressing that while justice must be respected, survivors should also be supported and believed.
One of the Catholic Church’s leading experts in child protection has said that more dangerous than clericalism in the clerical abuse crisis is a “paternalistic” attitude within the Church that both devalues laypeople and puts clergy on a pedestal.
Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, one of the world’s leading experts on safeguarding minors, said the church is suffering “institutional trauma” from clerical sexual abuse, trauma that it must learn to integrate into its theology and understanding of salvation if it is to overcome it.
The Vatican office that grants official recognition to international Catholic lay movements and organizations ordered the groups to develop detailed child-protection guidelines and norms for handling allegations of the abuse of minors and vulnerable adults.
Exactly one year after Pope Francis’s historic Feb. 21-24 abuse summit, attended by the presidents of all episcopal conferences worldwide, both survivors and experts muse on what the institution has accomplished, and what has yet to be done.