VATICAN CITY (AP):
Pope Francis is assembling a panel of experts to advise him on sex abuse in the clergy, a task that will involve looking at how to protect children from paedophiles, how to better screen men for the priesthood, and how to help victims who have already been harmed.
But it remains unclear if the experts will take up one of the core issues behind the Catholic Church's sex abuse scandal: how to make bishops who shelter abusive priests accountable.
Cardinal Sean O'Malley, the archbishop of Boston, announced the creation of the commission yesterday at the conclusion of a meeting between Francis and his eight cardinal advisers who are helping him govern the church and reform the Vatican bureaucracy.
Boston was the epicenter of the 2002 clerical sexual abuse scandal in the US.
O'Malley told reporters that the commission, made up of international lay and religious experts on sex abuse, would study current programmes to protect children, better screen priests, train church personnel, and suggest new initiatives for both the Holy See to implement inside the Vatican City State and for bishops to implement around the world.
He said, to date, the Vatican's involvement in the sex-abuse crisis has been largely judicial in nature, with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2001 taking over church trials for priests accused of raping and molesting children.