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Cardinal Pell prepares for appeal hearing

June 3, 2019 CNA Daily News 1

Melbourne, Australia, Jun 3, 2019 / 01:00 pm (CNA).- Cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his criminal conviction for child sexual abuse will be heard in Australia on Wednesday. The cardinal was convicted in December, 2018, of five charges of se… […]

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News Briefs

Australian bishops adopt new Safeguarding Standards

June 3, 2019 CNA Daily News 0

Canberra, Australia, Jun 3, 2019 / 11:19 am (CNA).- Last week the Australian bishop’ conference and Catholic Religious Australia adopted new standards to combat the sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults in the wake of a 2017 report on such abuse in the country’s institutions.

The National Catholic Safeguarding Standards were adopted May 30.

“These National Catholic Safeguarding Standards draw from the Child Safe Standards outlined during the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and align with the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations, but they provide additional criteria relevant to the governance of the Church,” Sr. Monica Cavanagh, president of CRA, stated.

“The standards will allow Catholic entities and the public to have additional confidence in the Church’s approach to addressing the tragedy of abuse and to building a culture of safety for all, especially for the young and the vulnerable.”

Catholic Professional Standards Limited, a non-profit which promotes child protection by auditing and reporting on Catholic entities, developed and released the standards. CPSL was founded in 2016.

The 10 standards include committed leadership, informed children, partnership with families, complaints management, and ongoing education. They will focus first on children, and be extended to vulnerable adults.

“Much has already been achieved,” Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane commented. “But more work remains to be done and we are committed to making the changes required.”

He added that “in addition to what’s been done and is being done locally, new guidelines from Pope Francis are helping to strengthen the Church’s global response to child sexual abuse –although many of the protocols and processes in place in Australia go beyond what the Pope is asking.”

The pope promulgated universal norms on sex abuse reporting which took effect June 1, days after the adoption of the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards. The norms of Vos estis lux mundi establish that clerics and religious are obliged to report sexual abuse accusations to the local ordinary where the abuse occurred. Every diocese must have a mechanism for reporting abuse. When a suffragan bishop is accused, the metropolitan archbishop is placed in charge of the investigation.

Archbishop Coleridge also said the Church in Australia is implementing the relevant recommendations of the Royal Commission.

A report from the Australian Royal Commission released in December 2017 found serious failings in the protection of children from abuse in the Catholic Church and other major secular and religious institutions.

The Royal Commission urged a program to compensate the victims of institutional child sex abuse, which the Church in Australia established in July 2018.

It also proposed that priests be legally obligated to disclose sexual abuse sins which have been admitted in the confessional, or face criminal charges.

The Australian bishops’ conference responded positively to nearly all the Royal Commission’s recommendations, but has defended the sanctity of the confessional seal.


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Pope Francis says he draws strength from relationship with Benedict XVI

June 2, 2019 CNA Daily News 2

Rome, Italy, Jun 2, 2019 / 12:30 pm (CNA).- Pope Francis said Sunday that his relationship with Benedict XVI gives him strength and reminds him of the living tradition of the Church.

“When I hear him speak, I become strong. I hear this story of the Church,” Pope Francis said of Benedict in an in-flight press conference June 2.

Speaking aboard the papal flight returning from Romania, Francis said that each time he visits the pope emeritus, he feels more like family.

“Every time I go to visit him I feel like that, I take his hand and get him to talk. He speaks little, slowly, but with the same depth, as always — because Benedict’s problem is his knees, not his head,” he said.

“He has a great lucidity, as always,” Francis added.

Pope Francis commented that Benedict XVI reminds him that “the tradition of the Church is always in motion.” He compared tradition to “a tree that grows, flourishes, and bears fruit.”

“Tradition is the guarantee of the future and not the keeper of the ashes. It’s not a museum,” he said, paraphrasing a quote from composer Gustav Mahler.

Pope Francis also commented on the future of Europe following the European Parliament elections on May 26.

“Europe must talk … If Europe does not look well at future challenges, Europe will wither, it will be withered,” he said.

“Please do not let Europe be overcome by pessimism and ideologies,” he said. “Because Europe is attacked not with cannons or bombs, but with ideologies. Ideologies that are not European, that come from outside and are born in small groups in Europe.”

“Pray for Europe,” Pope Francis said. “Pray for Europe, for unity, for the Lord give us the grace.”

Pope Francis commented that Romania has not suffered from a demographic winter seen in other countries in Europe, but has had “an impressive level of births.”

During his apostolic visit to Romania May 31 – June 2, Pope Francis traveled to the cities of Bucharest, Sumuleu-Ciuc, Iași, and Blaj. He celebrated Mass at a Marian pilgrimage site in Transylvania, and presided over the beatification of seven martyred Greek-Catholic bishops in a Greek-Catholic Divine Liturgy.

Due to poor weather conditions, Pope Francis had to travel by car rather than by helicopter as scheduled. Francis said that the unexpected storm was “a grace from God” because he was able to see the “beautiful landscape.”

“I have crossed the whole of Transylvania. It is beautiful and I have never seen anything like it,” he said.

Hannah Brockhaus contributed to this report.