Expert says Church's abuse prevention should differ for each culture
By Estefania Aguirre

.- An expert on dealing with sexual abuse cases within the Church says prevention guidelines being developed with Vatican oversight should vary from country to country.

“We’ve realized learning habits and how people respond to some questionnaires and comply to rules varies from country to country,” said Father Hans Zollner, a German Jesuit who heads the Gregorian University’s Centre for Child Protection.

“It is most interesting and most inspiring to see this across the different cultures,” Fr. Zollner told CNA June 5.

He explained that some guidelines should apply to all countries equally, since “sexual abuse is sexual abuse, no matter what.”

“But in the Philippines, for example, there is the ‘culture of touch.’”

“It means that if you don’t touch children, hugging and kissing them, there is something wrong and pathological,” Fr. Zollner said.

Korea, on the other hand, is a country where even just talking about sexual abuse is a complete taboo.

“In the Korean society it is impossible to talk about this, even within families, so the West needs to realize our point of view is not the same in the rest of the world,” said Fr. Zollner.

Fr. Zollner met with Pope Francis June 4 along with some participants in a child abuse conference being held in Rome.

“He repeated three times to ‘go ahead, your work is important,’ so we felt very much encouraged,” the German Jesuit reported.

“He is very well aware of the problem and he was listening deeply,” he added.

The conference, which took place May 31 – June 4 was co-sponsored by the U.S. Bishops’ Conference and the bishops of Sri Lanka had the theme “Prevention of abuse: We are going Global.”

Although the conference began in 1996 with English-speakers, the gathering has since brought in representatives from the developing world, especially after the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith mandated in 2011 that all bishops’ conferences draw up guidelines for responding to allegations of sexual abuse.

Fr. Zollner underscored that although sexual abuse is a significant problem within the Church, “it is a much bigger problem in society at large.”

He explained that 67 percent of the cases happen within families and “many more happen in sport organizations and schools.”

“But it doesn’t take away the deep wound, and the Church has to live up to the Gospel and to Jesus, who is the most important model,” he said.

“It is so deplorable and really against the Gospel for any Catholic who abuses minors, especially priests who are meant to heal people,” he stated.

The Centre for Child Protection was founded in 2010 and includes three institutions: the Pontifical Gregorian University’s Institute of Psychology, the Department for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy of Germany’s Ulm University Hospital, and the German Archdiocese of Munich and Freising.

Its main purpose is the creation of a global online training center that provides academic resources for people in pastoral roles who respond to the sexual abuse of minors, taking into account multilingual and intercultural issues.

Tags: Vatican, Sexual Abuse, Pope Francis

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

A Look at India from Rome
A Look at India from Rome
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods

Liturgical Calendar

July 31, 2014

Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Priest

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:47-53


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Jer 18: 1-6
Gospel:: Mt 13: 47-53

Saint of the Day

St. Ignatius of Loyola »


Homily of the Day

Mt 13:47-53


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: