Published: Sun, February 18, 2018

Pope reactivates Vatican panel on child sex abuse

Pope reactivates Vatican panel on child sex abuse

The first, three-year mandate of the commission ended in December and its future had been uncertain.

Pope Francis gives his weekly general audience at St. Peter's Square on November 15 in Vatican City.

Saturday's announcement came as the Vatican was struggling with the fallout of a child abuse scandal in Chile, revived by the pope's visit to the country in January.

Francis' defense of Bishop Juan Barros sparked an outcry, after which the pope apologised and asked the Vatican's top investigator on sexual abuse, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, to look into the case.

"There are two recent Bishops of Rome who are already saints, Paul VI will be a saint this year, " Francis said in a closed-door meeting with Roman parish priests, referring to John XXIII and John Paul II.

The move to renew the commission comes as the church faces an abuse scandal in Chile. She was hired by the commission in 2016 to develop anti-abuse guidelines.

A new member is Teresa Kettelkamp, a former colonel in the Illinois State Police who headed the U.S. Bishops' Child Protection Office from 2005 to 2011.

Unlike the original commission, the pope didn't publicly name any survivors of abuse in the group, but the Vatican says they'll still be involved.

In a statement to the National Catholic Reporter, Collins denounced the commission's "lack of resources, inadequate structures around support staff, slowness of forward movement and cultural resistance". "Four of the laywomen have gone and they were really the most active and had the most experience of working in child protection and working directly with survivors". He has described the allegations against Barros as "slander".

Last month, the Pope apologized and acknowleged he had "wounded many" by suggesting that sex abuse victims and those accusing Barro of a cover up should present "proof" before being believed by the Catholic Church.

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