Authors Greg Erlandson and Matthew Bunson continue the discussion they began in the book from Our Sunday Visitor, Pope Benedict XVI and the Sexual Abuse Crisis: Working for Reform and Renewal. Send us feedback at email@example.com. Kindle Edition available for download at amazon.com.
Controversial cases involving Italian clerics accused of sexual abuse have received relatively little attention until recently. The wave of such cases internationally, however, has included cases from Italy, and now the Italian bishops are speaking out.
The European Catholic news agency Zenit reports that at the just-concluded General Assembly of the Italian bishops, the topic was a major part of the meetings agenda. The bishops affirmed that any mistakes regarding the handling of abuse cases would be admitted and corrected.
Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco addressed the issue at a closing press conference.
If it is proven that there have been "cover-ups of sexual abuse in Italy," the cardinal stated, the "judgment of the Church is known: It is something mistaken that must be corrected and surmounted."
Pederasty is "a terrible sin and a crime that affects the whole of society, and the Church is part of society," he stressed.
At the beginning of the assembly Bishop Mariano Crociata reported that there had been some 100 canonical prosecutions in the last decade, and said that the bishops would cooperate with civil authorities. Because Italy does not require that a Bishop report such abuses, he explained that the Church would support victims and their families from filing a complaint.
In regard to the legal proceedings, he explained that Italian law "does not foresee the obligation to denounce, but this doesn't exclude cooperation, collaboration, which consists in making possible the confirmation of the facts and of encouraging, where possible," that "one who has suffered deeds of this type" would denounce the perpetrator.
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