Tags: Pope Francis | Vatican | priests | sex abuse | Catholic

Vatican Appoints American Priests to Commission on Sex Abuse

By    |   Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 11:42 AM

Pope Francis has named two American priests to key Vatican roles on the commission established to deal with the fallout from Catholic Church’s child sexual abuse scandals, reports The National Catholic Reporter.

The Vatican announced  Wednesday that the Rev. Robert Oliver will be the new secretary of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, an eight-member panel established in December to lay out a pastoral approach to combating sex abuse, as well as caring for the victims of past abuse.

The Rev. Robert Geisinger, a Chicago Jesuit, was named to fill the position vacated by Oliver, promoter of justice in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He is currently the top canon lawyer at the Jesuit order's headquarters in Rome, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

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"One of the great new signs is the Holy Father setting up the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. In 2011, the CDF wrote to all the bishops’ conferences encouraging them to write guidelines. We’ve heard back from nearly every conference, and around 93 percent of countries have finished the guidelines. But in some places, we see that the local church needs a lot of assistance in moving from the writing of the guidelines to the implementation process," Geisinger said of the church's efforts to combat abuse in a May interview with The Irish Catholic.

Since 2002, Oliver has served as the assistant for canonical affairs for the Boston archdiocese’s vicar general, and has also worked as a consultant for the archdiocese’s review board on sex abuse cases, reports the Catholic News Agency.

While on Boston's review board, Oliver worked under Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, who also been confirmed as president of the anti-abuse commission, reports the Catholic newspaper Crux.

Pope Francis demonstrated his desire to assertively address the sex abuse scandals in the U.S. Catholic Church when he met with victims of abuse on July 7 and asked for their forgiveness, reports The New York Times.

In an interview with Crux, Oliver said his first task would be to help O’Malley identify candidates from the developing world to fill vacant seats on the commission, and creating working groups to formulate policies, such as mandatory reporting of abuse charges.

Oliver originally was appointment as promoter of justice for the CDF by Benedict XVI in January 2013 and is also a visiting professor of canon law at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

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The selections have been criticized by some advocates of abuse victims, reports The Washington Post.

"The Pope has just promoted a priest from Boston with a disappointing track record,"  Barbara Dorris, outreach director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said in a statement to the paper. "For a pontiff who shows boldness in other areas, when it comes to abuse, he moves very slowly and timidly. Bolder measures are needed."

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Pope Francis has named two American priests to key Vatican roles on the commission established to deal with the fallout from Catholic Church's child sexual abuse scandals, reports The National Catholic Reporter.
Vatican, priests, sex abuse, Catholic
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2014-42-11
Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 11:42 AM
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