Vatican revives pope's anti-paedophile panel

Cheryl Sanders
February 18, 2018

The announcement of the revival of the committee came just days after it was revealed that Francis held regular private meetings with people abused by members of the priesthood.

It said plans were at an advanced stage to create a group made up of victims of sexual abuse known as the International Survivor Advisory Panel (ISAP) to offer consultation on "abuse prevention from the survivor's perspective".

The panel members include clergy and experts in safeguarding children and adults from sexual abuse, as well as victims and survivors of clerical sexual abuse.

THE Vatican said today it has renewed its anti-paedophile panel as Pope Francis acts to quell the global scandal over the sexual abuse of children by priests.

Scicluna, who prosecuted cases involving predator priests for the Vatican's doctrinal body from 2002 to 2012, is set to visit Chile from Monday as part of his investigation into Bishop Juan Barros, who is accused of covering up and even witnessing Karadima's abuse which took place during the 1980s and 1990s.

Barros has denied that he knew anything or that there was a cover-up.

The investigator, Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, starts his work in NY on Saturday when he is due to meet Juan Carlos Cruz, who says he was sexually abused when he was a teenager in Chile by a priest called Fernando Karadima.

The pope's answer to a journalist's question drew controversy: "The day I see proof against Bishop Barros, then I will talk".

Francis has said he overruled their recommendation and rejected Barros' resignation twice because he said he couldn't in good faith remove him when he had no evidence of Barros' wrongdoing. It is all slander. Is that clear?"He later apologised to victims, acknowledging that his choice of words and tone of voice had "wounded many."Cruz said all victims deserved to be heard with the same respect and treatment he received from Scicluna".

Scicluna is listening to victims and will report to the pope.

Cruz says Barros witnessed the abuse by Karadima, who was Barros' mentor years ago in a Santiago parish.

Cruz met with Scicluna in New York City on Saturday to tell his story.

"For the first time I feel they are listening to us", Juan Carlos Cruz, a victim of priest Fernando Karadima, told reporters in NY after a meeting that lasted about an hour and a half with Archbishop Charles Scicluna in a Manhattan church. "He was not acting, his compassion and empathy were evident", Cruz said.

Another sex abuse victim, Briton Peter Saunders, resigned in 2016 over a dispute on the panel's handling of allegations of serial abuse by an Italian priest.

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