Pontifical Commission Calls for Prompt Response from Those in Positions of Authority

By Iacopo Scaramuzzi
Vatican Insider
June 4, 2015

Sean O'malley

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors headed by US cardinal Sean O’Malley, has intervened with a statement in light of the recent clash between Peter Saunders, a member of the Commission who was abused by a paedophile priest when he was a child and Australian cardinal George Pell, Secretary of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy.

Speaking on Channel Nine's 60 Minutes Australia programme, Saunders accused Pell of showing indifference to the victims of a paedophile priest in Australia when he was a young priest, even going as far as to define Pell’s attitude “sociopathic” and expressing the hope that the Pope would remove him from his Vatican role. The prelate - who will be giving evidence at a hearing before the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Institutional Child Sex Abuse after already speaking in a parliamentary inquiry in Victoria – was defensive in his response: he stressed that he never covered up any complaints made against paedophile priests and said he would resort to legal action. The Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi also issued a comment, saying that the statement made in recent days by Cardinal Pell in response to the accusations made by the Australian Commission, was “worthy of respect and attention”. The Vatican spokesman added that the statements made by Saunders “were clearly entirely personal and were not made on behalf of the Commission”. Now, the Commission Saunders is a member of has also expressed itself.

“The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, as mandated by the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has no jurisdiction to comment on individual cases or inquiries,” the statement issued yesterday evening reads. “Regarding Australia’s Royal Commission of Inquiry into Institutional Child Sex Abuse, all appropriate questions are being dealt with by the Truth, Justice and Healing Council in Australia, which is coordinating the local Church’s response to the Royal Commission’s findings,” the statement says. “The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors remains dedicated to its mission as outlined in the recently approved provisional Statutes, which is to help the Church worldwide protect minors and make certain that the interests of abuse survivors and victims’ are paramount. To this ends the Commission considers it essential that those in positions of authority in the Church respond promptly, transparently and with the clear intent of enabling justice to be achieved.”








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