Fighting abuse in lay movements: Vatican mandates norms, guidelines

Religion News Service

February 28, 2020

By Cindy Wooden

Organizations, Catholic or not, led by a charismatic leader who is followed uncritically and commands or demands control over members are at risk for cases of physical, sexual and psychological abuse, said Jesuit Father Hans Zollner.

The Vatican office that grants official recognition to international Catholic lay movements and organizations ordered the groups to develop detailed child-protection guidelines and norms for handling allegations of the abuse of minors and vulnerable adults.

The international organizations include hundreds of thousands of Catholics around the world, so “this is an important step,” said Father Zollner, a professor of psychology and president of the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

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