Pope Announces New Commission to Examine Sexual Misconduct

By Mary Ann Ahern
|  Friday, Dec 6, 2013  |  Updated 1:37 AM CDT
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On the day that the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis planned to disclose the names of more than 30 priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors, the Vatican announced the Pope will form a new international commission to examine the crisis.

On the day that the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis planned to disclose the names of more than 30 priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors, the Vatican announced the Pope will form a new international commission to examine the crisis.

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On the day that the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis planned to disclose the names of more than 30 priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors, the Vatican announced the Pope will form a new international commission to examine the crisis.

The Minnesota archdiocese sent an email to priests Wednesday saying 92 parishes have had at least one accused priest at some point – that’s nearly half of the 188 parishes there. Most of the allegations stem from the 1950s to the 1980s.

As for the new Vatican Commission, the Pope’s spokesman Rev. Thomas Rosica told NBC 5 in an email that the commission will be different than the one established in Chicago.

“What is new... it is a commission established by the Vatican at the universal level of the Church," he said in the email. "What Cardinal Bernardin established was for Chicago."

The new commission established by the Pope will not only be reactive to the crisis, and deal with what has already happened, but it will be extremely proactive. It will look at the continuing pastoral care that the Church will provide to victims.

As the declaration stated this morning, "The Holy Father has decided to establish a specific Commission for the protection of minors, with the aim of advising Pope Francis on the Holy See’s commitment to the protection of children and in pastoral care for victims of abuse."

Specifically, the Commission will:

1. Study present programs in place for the protection of children.

2. Formulate suggestions for new initiatives on the part of the Curia, in collaboration with bishops, Episcopal conferences, religious superiors and conferences of religious superiors.

3. Indicate the names of persons suited to the systematic implementation of these new initiatives, including lay persons, religious and priests with responsibilities for the safety of children, in relations with the victims, in mental health, in the application of the law, etc.

"This is new," the declaration stated.
 

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