Archbishop Charles Scicluna was described as “the face of the Roman Catholic Church in the fight to eliminate the sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults by clergy and its cover-up by bishops and heads of religious orders.” This by Rev. Thomas Rosica, the CEO of Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation following an interview with the Maltese Church leader.
Meanwhile, Mgr. Scicluna, speaking of his responsibilities at the Vatican said that “Something needs to be done to ensure that the Church be what it should be, a safe place for children. Now, somebody has to do it and it has to be done well and it is a privilege to be able to do it.” This before the interview turned to the current Protection of Minors Summit which Pope Francis called as a definitive step in the fight against sexual abuse committed by members of the Roman Catholic Church, particularly on minors.
The Pope truly believes that something needs to be done, explained the Archbishop, adding that the fact that the Pontiff can be open and say that there have been mistakes and they need to be fixed shows the “we are in good hands”.
What hopes does the Bishop have for the Summit?
The Archbishop spoke of a discovered awareness uniting the Bishops and religious Superiors which in turn will give them the courage to go back home and face resistance and adversity due to culture difference. The point, said Mgr. Scicluna, isn’t to persuade the 190 participants, but it’s part of a process which has been ongoing since the 1980s.
The desired outcomes of the Summit are to address the style of leadership of the Church to make it more conducive to the prevention of abuse. This will show a change of heart towards the commitment of accountability and transparency, said the Archbishop, “a style of leadership that promotes a safe environment for our kids and young people.”
Speaking of a new law which Pope Francis introduce in 2016, the Archbishop explained that there is now procedure to denounce negligent Bishops who are not up to the task of safeguarding of minors in their congregation. This needs to be communicated properly to the people so that they can hold their leaders more accountable, and challenge them when necessary.
The most important take-away from the Summit, according to Mgr. Scicluna, are the follow-ups. In the short-term, he said that he foresees certain tweaks to existing legislation, as well as the implementation of regulatons to hold Bishops more accountable.
In the middle-term, there needs to be independent audits to ensure that different regions of the Church are all on the same page in terms of their determination to enact policy as dictated by the Pope on these issues. And finally, the long-term should bring about a change in the culture of the Catholic Church where people can understand that “disclosure of abuse is essential for good stewardship and the good name of the Church.”