The Vatican has received the guidelines for combating paedophilia in the clergy – which the Holy See had asked for, for last May – from more than half the world’s national bishops’ conferences.
“Many Episcopates have written up the guidelines and delivered them to the congregation to be examined after the summer,” Scicluna said.
“Episcopates which have not yet sent them have been sent a reminder. Leaving Africa – which is a case a part and where ecclesiastical bodies are in difficulty – aside, more than half of the world’s bishops’ conferences have sent their guidelines. These incomplete figures do not give a final picture: let us examine the guidelines we have already received and the others we will look at as they arrive.”
“The number of responses received from the Anglo-Saxon world is encouraging, but a high number of responses were also noted from Europe, Asia and Latin America. It will take at least a year to evaluate all texts.”
The Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), like many others, has presented its own set of guidelines to the Congregation.
At the moment, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is not in a position to judge the CEI’s guidelines because this evaluation has not been made yet. It will be during the summer, with the help of experts. Concrete suggestions for points that need to be added or revisions that need to be made will be given where required and this applies to all sets of guidelines.
Here is an example: “Regarding bishops’ Conferences’ relations with state authorities, if the former refers to State law exclusively in relation to the safeguarding of the Church’s autonomy, a detailed description of how the crime of sexual abuse is interpreted by the law of the State in question will need to be provided. The guidelines will also need to specify, in full adherence to state law that the Church strives to never try to dissuade victims from their right to report a crime to the State. It is good to make this commitment explicit in order to have a more complete and just framework.”
“The experience of those who have had the opportunity to be present at the Symposium at the Pontifical Gregorian University was very encouraging: some prelates – Scicluna recalled – witnessed with great joy that there had been a strong impact. This is my hope: there has been no mentality revolution during these past few weeks; this will take time and patience. But the right seed has been planted in the Church’s furrow, under the Holy Father’s humble and courageous leadership. People need pastors to be vigilant; this is a battle against sin and against crime. And we cannot be defeated in this battle: the innocence of our children and young people is too precious a treasure for the Church.”