New Child Protection Law for Vatican

The pope made a pledge to invoke God’s wrath on abuse perpetrators

The Vatican summit led by Pope Francis on the subject of prevention of sex abuse has yielded some developments. A spokesman for the Holy See said on February 24 there would be concrete follow-ups on the discussions and a new child protection law is on the way. This new law will prevent minors from sexual abuse in the Vatican City State. The Vatican had no policy on this matter until now.

Reverend Federico Lombardi, appointed by the Holy See to moderate the Francis helmed summit dealing with abuse prevention, announced the new law. It will cover the Vatican bureaucracy, termed the Roman Curia, and will be effective inside the ramparts of Vatican City. Other than the city receiving the new law, the Vatican City Vicariate will also receive brand new child protection guidelines. It is expected that these new laws will be ready within a few weeks. A handbook or “vademecum” with details on the many obligations and tasks to be followed by bishops will also be published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna, the CDF adjunct secretary and an important figure in this abuse conference said on February 24 that although editing and writing new laws are positive steps, it is vital to engage in “a change of heart” keeping in mind to be like the Good Shepherd who takes care of the most vulnerable and “little ones.” The summit has produced another tangible result: a task force will be specially created to assist those local churches who need help when it comes to developing initiatives and solving problems in their respective dioceses and bishops’ conferences. The summit organizer, Fr. Hans Zollner, SJ, said the reason behind the creation of this task force is the realization that the church in a few countries suffers from availability of trained personnel. Outside assistance is a must in this regard. The work of the task force includes helping the dioceses and the bishops' conferences which have asked for assistance on matters like educated concerning abuse and writing proper guidelines. Zollner insisted that such an effort will bear results both in the mid-term and the long-term.

Pope Francis concluded this special summit by pledging to confront all clergy who engage in sex abuse with the “wrath of God.” He wants to end cover-ups by superiors of the abusive clergy permanently. He insisted that from now on, the Vatican will prioritize victims of such abuses.

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