Vatican to Host Global Summit on Sexual Abuse
VATICAN CITY (RNS) Ten years after the clergy sexual abuse scandal erupted in the United States, Catholic bishops from all over the world will meet next week at a Vatican summit aimed at preventing abuse and protecting children.
The conference, "Towards Healing and Renewal," will be held on Feb. 6-9 and is organized by the Jesuit-run Gregorian University in Rome.
The Vatican's top spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, told reporters on Friday (Feb. 3) that the summit enjoys the "full support and participation" of the Vatican's highest offices, but Pope Benedict XVI is not expected to attend.
Monsignor Charles Scicluna, the Vatican's chief abuse prosecutor, said the protection of children must become "a permanent principle and concern" in every decision of the church.
"There cannot be a distinction between the good of the church and the protection of youth," he said Friday.
Last May, the Vatican gave all bishops conferences around the world one year to draft voluntary "guidelines" on preventing abuse, caring for victims, disciplining abusive priests, and reporting suspected abuse to local police.