(ANSA) - Vatican City, December 5 - Pope Francis has decided
to set up a special commission to advise him on how the Catholic
Church should protect children and help the victims of sexual
abuse by the clergy.
A panel of eight cardinals who have been advising the
pontiff on reforms suggested he set up the commission, the
details of which will be described in depth in a forthcoming
Officials said the commission will report on the current
status of abuse victims, as well as propose clergy and
laypersons to oversee the implementation of new initiatives.
According the Vatican, those new initiatives will likely
include guidelines and standards for the protection of children,
training programs, criminal background checks and psychiatric
evaluations for those who work with children and minors, and
protocols for collaborating with civil authorities and for
It will also outline how Church officials should meet with
victims, as well as how to facilitate the "recovery of clerics
guilty of abuse".
Panelist Sean Patrick O'Malley, archbishop of Boston, made
O'Malley, known as a crisis fixer in dioceses plagued by
sexual abuse scandals, succeeded Cardinal Bernard Law as Boston
archbishop in 2003.
In 2002 Law was reassigned as archpriest of Rome when
evidence suggested he had covered up abuse by priests in his
According to allegations his departure from Boston was to
Shortly after, he was made archpriest of Rome's Saint Mary
Major Basilica, and in 2005 he voted in the conclave to elect
Pope Benedict XVI.
The commission announcement comes days after the Vatican
rebuffed a request from the United Nations to provide
information on alleged child sex abuse by priests, nuns or
monks, arguing the cases fell under the auspices of the judicial
authorities in countries where abuse happened.