Gregorian Jesuit: Priority Must Be Given To Abuse Victims
An update on the Vatican's conference on sexual abuse to be held at the Pontifical Gregorian University in February, from AFP News.
The Vatican is turning to the Internet in its struggle against child abuse with a new website allowing clergy around the world to share information on eradicating the problem. A key figure behind the initiative is German psychologist priest Hans Zollner from the Vatican's Gregorian University, who spoke to AFP about the need for fundamental changes in how the Catholic Church handles abuse cases. "Bishops have to give priority to victims," said Zollner, a member of the order of Jesuits, often seen as intellectuals inside the Church. "People working inside dioceses and religious orders should be taught to listen to them. All complaints have to be taken seriously," he said. Zollner's university will host a conference next February at which the new e-learning centre is expected to be launched, with some 200 experts, diocesan officials and representatives of congregations attending.
"For almost all victims, the most important thing is to be heard by a representative of the institution whose members have hurt them," Zollner said. Victims "should have the chance to express all their pain, anger, depression and fears to an official representative of the Church," he added. "The pope's stance is there should no longer be priests who are protected and moved along. The Church must no longer give the impression it is shielding the perpetrators as it has often been seen as doing in the past," he said. The Jesuit father added: "It makes the victims suffer a second time."