“To strive for healing and justice”

View over Campo Santo Teutonico at the Vatican © Stefano Dal Pozzolo (CBA)

Vatican has praised final report of Australian commission on sexual abuse in institutions. The report, he said, is the result of years of diligent effort and must now be studied.

It is important to listen to victims and survivors of abuse and to accompany them "in the search for healing and justice.". At the same time, the statement recalls Pope Francis' arance that the church must be a place of compassion. He added that the protection of children and vulnerable adults has a special place in this process.

On Friday, the state abuse commission had delivered its final report to the Australian government in Canberra. Among the 189 recommendations for action in the report, which runs to tens of thousands of pages, are a relaxation of the secrecy of confession and an abolition of compulsory celibacy for Catholic priests.

The president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference, Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne, on Friday reiterated his "unconditional apology for the suffering of those affected" who must be given justice. He said the "prevailing culture of secrecy and self-protection" had caused "unnecessary suffering" to many victims and their families. Hart, however, rejected a softening of the seal of confession.

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