Vatican turns to Internet to stem sexual abuse scandals

June 19, 2011

(A computer mouse pad with an image of Pope John Paul II in Brazil, October 2, 1997/Gregg Newton)

The Roman Catholic Church, often accused of dragging its feet on sexual abuse scandals, will turn to the Internet with a new e-learning center to help safeguard children and the victims of molestation. The Vatican presented the move at a news conference on Saturday flagging an international conference on sexual abuse of children by clergy to be held next February at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University with church backing.

“The e-learning center will work with medical institutions and universities to develop a constant response to the problems of sexual abuse,” Monsignor Klaus Peter Franzl of the archdiocese of Munich. It will be posted in German, English, French, Spanish and Italian and help bishops and other church workers put into place Vatican guidelines to protect children.

“We want people to know that we are serious about this and that we think the Church has to be at the center of a solution,” said Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi. “This is not a flash in the pan initiative but something we are committed to in the long-term.”

The e-learning center will offer guidance to those who have to respond to abuse cases as well as information for victims.

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