Rome, Italy, Nov 17, 2018 / 12:00 am (CNA).- With the intention of “providing a radical solution” to the sex abuse issue, the Italian bishops’ conference established Thursday a new center for youth protection, and pledged to update its 2014 guidelines on countering sexual abuse.
The decisions came at the end of an extraordinary general assembly of the Italian bishops’ conference, held in Rome Nov. 12 -15.
The assembly was summoned to approve new translations of the missal, and in particular of “Our Father” and the “Gloria in Excelsis.” The meeting also included a discussion on new anti-abuse measures that are said to have been for in process for quite some time.
During the meeting, the Italian bishops decided to establish a “national service for the protection of Minors and vulnerable people.”
The new body will be given statutes, a regulation, a staff, and a panel of experts in advisory roles.
According to an Italian bishops’ conference release, the center will have responsibility to “help start diocesan paths to provide formation for the prevention of abuse.”
The center will also counsel and assist dioceses in canonical and civil lawsuits.
In addition to this service, the Italian bishops’ conference made the decision to appoint one or two people per region as reference points for abuse reports. Italy is composed of 20 ecclesiastical regions, and almost all of them gather in regional bishops’ conferences.
Those people will undergo specific training, on a regional basis, with the help of the Center for the Protection of Minors of the Gregorian University.
Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, president of the Italian bishops’ conference, underscored in a Nov. 15 press conference that the Italian bishops are also committed to improve the procedure to accept candidates to priesthood.
There will be, he said, “an accurate psychiatric evaluation” before admitting anyone to the seminary.
Bassetti also noted that reports of abuse must be “seriously scrutinized. An equitable and just procedure is needed. The reports of survivors must be heard with care and with psychological sensitivity. On the other hand, we must watch out for unjust reports.”