Vatican sets up child sex abuse committee

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Boston Archbishop Sean Patrick O'Malley said details of the commission will be announced shortly. Photo: mvBrewer/Wikicommons
13:00 CET+01:00
Pope Francis is setting up a special commission to advise the Catholic Church on how it can better protect children and help those who have suffered sexual abuse by priests, the Vatican announced on Thursday.

The move is in response to a series of child abuse scandals within the Catholic Church. It also follows a case earlier this week in which an Italian priest, Giangiacomo Ruggeri, was handed a two-and-a-half year sentence for having sex with a 13-year-old girl.


"The Holy Father has decided to establish a specific commission for the protection of minors, with the aim of advising Pope Francis on the Holy See's commitment to the protection of children and in pastoral care for victims of abuse," Boston Archbishop Sean Patrick O'Malley said in a statement.

O’Malley, who is one of eight cardinals who have been advising the Pope, added that the details of the commission will be announced shortly.

The commission will formulate “guidelines for the protection of children, the development and extension of norms, procedures and strategies for the protection of children and the prevention of abuse of minors.”

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It will also develop new initiatives for criminal background checks on priests as well as psychiatric evaluations for those working with children and minors, along with protocols for collaborating with civil authorities and for reporting offenses. 

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