“Towards Healing and Renewal,” a conference held at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University (PGU) in Rome, concluded Feb. 9 with the announcement of a $1.6 million Vatican initiative to fight the abuse of children by Roman Catholic clergy.
During a press conference at the end of the four-day summit, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich, and other spokespersons outlined plans for a multilingual international Internet centre to combat pedophilia. The e-learning Centre for Child Protection-based in Germany and with partners in Argentina, Ecuador, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Italy and Kenya-will provide online training for professionals responding to the sexual abuse of minors and will make accessible research and best practice to eradicate such abuse. The 30-hour training program will be available in Spanish, English, Italian and German.
Funded for three years, the project “is only one part of a renewal of the church,” said Cardinal Marx at the press conference. “The church’s loss of credibility is far from over, but we will rebuild credibility step by step.”
The centre will be jointly managed by PGU, its affiliated Institute of Psychology, based in Munich, and the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at Germany’s Ulm University.
The move, however, comes as too little too late for some victims’ organizations, which have asked for full disclosure of the church’s records on clerical abuse.