Archbishop on new law for clergy who abuse children or cover up such abuse
Communication within the Church is the theme of a conference which is being held in collaboration with the Church in Malta with the hope of finding more professional methods on how to convey the message of the Church on issues such as sexual abuse of minors by priests, the refugee crisis and other themes related to the economy and transparency.
Archbishop Charles Scicluna addressed the conference being attended by the Church’s communications officers and spokespersons of the episcopal conference who are meeting in Malta. He spoke about the new law by Pope Francis Vos Estis Lux Mundi published at the beginning of this month. This deals with new norms for the Catholic Church against members of the clergy who carry out sexual abuse or cover up such abuse. Archbishop Scicluna said that this law is based on four principals which are compassion, justice, prevention and reparation.
He explained that the culture of silence and cover-ups needs to change to one which is open, based on the truth and a humble approach. He said that all those who wish to know the truth are friends of the Church including the media, the victim’s families and the Christian community. The Archbishop said that there needs to be a healing process with the Church accepting, listening and accompanying the victims of sexual abuse by helping them at various levels and by providing therapy and medical treatment to heal the deep scars which sexually abused children have experienced.
Archbishop Scicluna said that measures are being taken so that seminarists will be better prepared and will understand the consequences if they carry out sexual abuse especially on minors. He said that even the Christian community should be informed of the new regulations so that they can better understand what the Church is doing to prevent these abuses, and that it was sending out a strong message against them. Mons Scicluna said that the Church is giving a response which is merited, in order to find the right road based on conscience, responsibility and transparency.