Preventing abuse requires more than words: Archbishop

Archbishop Charles Scicluna (CNS/Alberto Valdes, EPA)

Inviting presidents of the world’s bishops’ conferences to the Vatican to discuss abuse prevention reflects an understanding that “lovely” words and promises are not enough, said Malta Archbishop Charles Scicluna. Source: Crux.

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Pope Francis’ convocation of the gathering, to be held February 21-24, sends “a very strong signal of a hearty commitment to defend dignity, to safeguard minors in the Church,” Archbishop Scicluna said on Friday, on the sidelines of the plenary assembly of the Council of Bishops’ Conferences of Europe. The annual gathering of presidents of the European conferences took place in Poznan, Poland, last week.

Archbishop Scicluna, who is also president of a board of review handling abuse cases within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told reporters that the Pope’s decision to hold the meeting in February reflects a fundamental point, “that the issue of prevention of abuse and safeguarding minors requires the whole Church and requires everyone in the Church” to take part.

The February meeting, which was announced by the Pope’s international Council of Cardinals last week, “is also a response to the expectations of the people that (after) documents and words, we now want action,” the archbishop said.

People need to know that “lovely words and promises are not enough,” he said. What is needed is “an extensive commitment that concerns everyone, it involves the whole Church and everyone in the church.”

Also speaking to reporters in Poznan, Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, said, “We have to speed things up and do something more effective.”

While much has been done to fight abuse, the cardinal said, “I believe that much more must be done within the church. I am thinking about priestly formation, more prudence in choosing bishops, we’d need the participation of more women in the formation of priests in teaching, the discernment of candidates, for affective balance” or maturity.

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Words, promises are not enough to prevent abuse, archbishop says (Crux

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