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Vatican spokesman says sexual abuse not just Catholic problem

.- Sexual abuse of children is not just a Catholic Church problem and other institutions should take steps to acknowledge and deal with such "wickedness" within their own ranks, the chief spokesman for the Vatican said today.

Spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, said in an interview with Vatican Radio that the record $660 million settlement between the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and victims of sexual abuse was an attempt to "close a painful chapter and look forward".

"The Church is above all clearly pained by the suffering of the victims and their families, by the deep wounds caused by the grave and inexcusable behavior of some of its members," Lombardi said.

"It has decided to commit itself in every way to avoid a repetition of such wickedness," he said, adding that the Church now had a "a policy of prevention and creation of an ever more secure atmosphere for children and young people in all aspects of (its) pastoral programs".

Fr. Lombardi, also drew attention to the fact that other institutions should deal with the problem of pedophilia as openly as the Catholic Church has.

"The problem of the abuse of childhood and its adequate protection certainly does not regard only the (Catholic) Church, but also many other institutions and it is right that these take the necessary decisions as well," he said.

Lombardi also mentioned that the Church is conscious of her educational responsibilities to young people and that she intends to be "a protagonist in the struggle against pedophilia", which he said was on the rise worldwide.

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