Vatican official praises media for helping uncover sex abuse scandal

From the BBC: 

The Vatican official charged with prosecuting sexual crimes has acknowledged that the US media helped the Church confront the abuse scandal.

Father Robert Oliver, a lawyer from Boston, was speaking after being named as the Vatican’s “Promoter of Justice”.

Officials said about 600 cases of abuse – most of which took place from 1965 to 1985 – are being reported each year.

In the past, Vatican officials have accused the media of irresponsible reporting on the story.

The scandals were uncovered by American media in Boston in 2002.

They began reporting that instances of abuse were being systematically covered up and accused priests were being transferred between parishes, instead of facing criminal charges.

“I think that certainly those who continued to put before us that we need to confront this problem did a service,” Father Oliver said, speaking in Rome.

“They [the media] helped to keep the energy, if you will, to keep the movement going so that we would, honestly and with transparency, and with our strength, confront what is true,” he added.

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“All of us — every single person has difficulty coming to understand what this really is and how prevalent it is in our societies across the world,” said Father Oliver, whose position includes monitoring and investigating cases of priests accused of sex abuse.

When one first hears of a case of abuse, he said, “every single one of us begins with denial,” which is why the entire church, at all levels, must make a concerted effort to educate its members about the reality of abuse and the best practices for protecting children.

Speaking at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University Feb. 5, Father Oliver said the conference that the university and several Vatican offices sponsored last year for bishops and for superiors of religious orders was an important step forward, as is the pilot project for an online prevention and child protection course being run by the Gregorian-based Center for Child Protection.

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