Timeline of the Church’s Response on the local and universal levels

Article
"Preparing the Meeting of Bishops on the Protection of Minors"

Read the summary of the events before the February meeting
published on lacivilitycattolica.com, 19 December 2018
by Federico Lombardi, S.J.

Events in detail by year

The diocese of Rabat in Morocco are about to set up a Diocesan Listening and Reception Commission where there will be at least one priest, a psychologist, a lawyer. This commission will also draft guidelines for priests and all pastoral agents of the diocese.

The Comissão Diocesana para a Proteção de Menores (CDPM-DS) of Cape Verde plans on conducting internal training regarding both civil and canonical issues, and holding prevention training sessions in parishes.

The Conférence Épiscopale Centrafricaine (CECA) plans to produce their safeguarding guidelines in the context of the upcoming June Plenary Meeting.

The Bishops’ Conference of Uruguay will publish their Safeguarding Policy.

Catholic Professional Standards of Australia hopes to publish the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards (currently in draft form)

Pope Francis sent a Letter to the Bishops of the United States gathered in retreat so as to make the “necessary step[s] forward toward responding in the spirit of the Gospel to the crisis of credibility you are experiencing as a Church”.

In view of the Meeting on the Protection of Minors, the Conference of Bishops of Mexico release a statement saying the establishment of the Equipo Nacional de Protección de Menores (National Team for the Protection of Minors) had been created. They also reported that the Apostolic Nunciature in Mexico reported that there are approximately 152 cases of priests committing abuse against minors in the last nine years. 

CORREF of France held a meeting attended by about 100 religious and victims on the theme: Spiritual Abuse, Sexual Abuse and Abuse of Conscience.

The Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council published Guidelines for Safe Environment Programme for Church Personnel connected with institutions where minors or vulnerable adults are given particular care.

The Belgian Bishops’ Conference published a 400-page report on clergy sexual abuse.

The CDF communicated that Theodore McCarick was found guilty of “ solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession, and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power” and is definitively dismissed from the clerical state.

The Belgian Bishops’ Conference and the Major Superiors of Belgium published Abus sexuels de mineurs dans une relation pastorale dans l’Égliese de Belguique: Vers une politique cohérente.

A court in Costa Rica issued an international detention request for Mauricio Viquez, a priest who in 2003 allegedly abused two minors.

The Polish Foundation “Do not be afraid”, published a report containing statistics of the sexual abuse of minors.

Archbishop José Rafael Quirós, of San José, and President of the Conferencia Episcopal de Costa Rica did not attend the Meeting on the Protection of Minors in the Church due to an allegation of covering up for Mauricio Viquez.

Dioceses in the United States publish list of priests with credible accusations of the sexual abuse of minors. These dioceses include Trenton, Houston, Paterson, Sioux City, Evansville, Richmond, Norwich, Oakland, Newark, Brooklyn.

Msgr. Joseph Punderson is included in a preliminary list of “clergy ordained for/incardinated in the Diocese of Trenton who have been credibly accused of the sexual abuse of a minor”. Diocesan records indicate that Msgr. Punderson submitted his resignation in 2004 when the allegation was “reported to the Holy See”. “The Holy See, however, permitted him to continue in office but under specific restrictions regarding public acts of ministry initially imposed by the Diocese of Trenton in 2003.  Msgr. Punderson was instructed to resign his Vatican position by the Bishop in late fall 2018 and his resignation was accepted.  He has been removed from all public ministry.”

Bishops in France agree to compensate persons sexually abused by priests when minors whose cases are beyond France’s statute of limitations.

A booklet in Finland will be distributed in parishes with the most important information. When available, it will be published on the diocesan website.

The Plenary Assembly of the Peruvian Episcopal Conference decided to establish a Centro de Escucha contra el Abuso de Menores y la Mujer (Listening Center Combatting the Abuse of Minors and Women) to be located at the Episcopal Conference headquarters.

The Bishops’ Conference of Mexico released a statement containing Líneas de Acción para la Protección de menores (Guidelines for the Protection of Minors).

The President of the Mexican Episcopal Conference admitted in a press conference that 101 Catholic priests in Mexico have been prosecuted for sexual crimes since 2010.

A statement is released by the Archbishop of Santiago, Chile containing an outline of the case against Rivera Muñoz and the penalties imposed on him.

The Swiss Bishops’ Conference published the fourth edition of Abus sexuels dans le context ecclesial: Directives de la Conférence des Evêques suisses et de l’Union des Supérieurs Majeurs religieux de Suisse (Sexual Abuse in Pastoral Ministry: Diocesan Directives). Directives in German. Directives in French. Directives in Italian.

The Peruvian Bishops’ Conference released a statement saying that the Comisión de Protección del Menor del Episcopado had met with a former member of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae.

In January, Pope Francis defended his appointment of Bishop Juan Barros Madrid to lead the diocese of Osorno, saying that accusations that he covered up the sexual abuse perpetrated by Fernando Karadima were calumnious. The Pope subsequently sent two envoys to Chile to investigate. In April, after viewing their report, Pope Francis wrote a letter to the Bishops of Chile in which he acknowledges he made “serious errors in the assessment and perception of the [Barros] situation”. He called the Bishops of Chile to Rome to meet with him. This meeting took place from 15-17 May. Pope Francis then wrote a Letter to the People of God in Chile at the end of May. Pope Francis met in Rome on two separate occasions (April and June) with victims of clergy sexual abuse in Chile and He subsequently met in August with a representative of the Chilean Bishops’ abuse prevention council and a Bishop to discuss steps being taken there to address the clerical sex abuse crisis. At the end of the meeting, all of the Bishops of Chile submitted their resignations to Pope Francis. In June, Pope Francis accepted the resignations of 5 of them (including that of Bishop Barros). In October, Pope Francis dismissed from the clerical state two Chilean Bishops because of manifest abuse of minors.

In January, the Reporting Centre for Sexual Abuse within the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands closed. The Victim Support Platform continues to assist victims under the auspices of the Reporting Centre for Transgressional Behaviour.

The CECH established the Departamento de Prevención de Abusos (Department for the Prevention of Abuse). The Consejo Nacional de Prevención de Abusos y Acompañamiento a Víctimas released a summary of the efforts undertaken by the bishops in Chile.

The Consejo Nacional de Prevención de Abusos y Acompañamiento a Víctimas of the CECH released Buenas Prácticas: para ambientes sanos y seguros en la Iglesia: Documento Ad experimentum 2018-2021 (Good Practices for a healthy and safe environment in the Church).

The CECH issued an official statement entitled Declaración, Decisiones y Compromisos de los Obispos de la Episcopal Conference of Chile (Declaration, Decisions and Commitments of the Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Chile). Some of the points are already in progress while others are pending.

The Truth Justice Healing Council concluded a 5-year response coordinating the Church in Australia’s response to the Royal Commission.

The ACBC and CRA established the Implementation Advisory Group with the task of “monitoring the Catholic Church’s ongoing response to the child sexual abuse scandal.”

The Bishops Conference of Scotland published In God’s Image: Instruction on Safeguarding for implementation in all Catholic canonical jurisdictions in Scotland and by all other groups and organisations in Scotland subject to a legitimate canonical authority of the Catholic Church.

The USCCB revised its Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People for the third time. Charter in Spanish.

Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal McCarrick from the College of Cardinals after the Archdiocese of New York released that its investigation proved that an allegation against the Cardinal regarding the sexual abuse of a minor, which had taken place 47 years earlier, was credible.

Pope Francis dismisses Fernando Karadima from the clerical state.

The Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report is released.

Pope Francis wrote a Letter to the People of God in response to the ongoing crisis of sexual abuse in the wake of the release of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report.

The CCCB published Protecting Minors from Sexual Abuse: A Call to the Catholic Faithful in Canada for Healing, Reconciliation, and Transformation. Contains Lessons Learned, guidelines for moving forward along with updated canonical norms, helpful resources. The canonical norms were “were assessed by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith to ensure compliance with the expectations of the Holy See, which it so confirmed” (PMSA, 5).

The ACBC and CRA responded to the Australian Royal Commission’s report.

Archbishop Philip Wilson, of Adelaide, Australia, is convicted of covering up child sexual abuse; resigns his position, and is subsequently acquitted.

Cardinal George Pell is found guilty on 5 charges of historical child sexual offenses. Sentencing and a second trial on other charges have yet to take place as of the end of January 2019.

The CEF plenary assembly included a presentation by Father Hans Zollner, SJ, President of the Center for Child Protection.

The CEF published Rapport de la Conférence des Évêques de France sur la lutte contre la pédophilie dans l'église, 2018. It “provides an update and a progress report” to Lutter contre la pédophílie issued in 2017.

CORREFF held a second assembly with the participation of victims of clergy sexual abuse.

The General Secretariat for Catholic Education of CEF published De la lutte contre la maltraitance à la bientraitance educative and Procédures en matière de protection des mineurs.

Victims of clergy sexual abuse participated in the CEF Plenary Assembly.

The "Sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests, deacons and male members of orders in the domain of the German Bishops' Conference" is released. English summary. This study was initiated by the German Bishops’ Conference in order to “determine the frequency of the sexual abuse of minors by diocesan priests and deacons, as well as by priests within religious orders who are governed by “Gestellungsverträge” (a contract conferring a form of stipend), within the sphere for which the German Bishops’ Conference is responsible, as well as to describe the forms of sexual abuse and to identify structures and dynamics within the Church which might favour abuse”.

The German Bishops’ Conference released a statement regarding their deliberations in the Autumn Plenary Assembly regarding the study "Sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests, deacons and male members of orders in the domain of the German Bishops' Conference" (MHG study). Statement in German.

The Plenary Assembly of the USCCB is dedicated to three proposals regarding accountability for Bishops who have covered up abuse or have committed abuse. Victims of clergy sexual abuse participated with testimonies.

The USCCB’s NRB delivered a report to the USCCB Plenary Assembly in which it urged the Bishops to broaden the scope of the Charter to include bishops, “the publication of lists of credibly accused members of the clergy in all dioceses, improving the audit process and enhancing accountability for bishops regarding cases of abuse”.

The Instituto Teológico de Vida Religiosa Escuela Regina Apostolorum launched a Course on Child Protection.

The Diocese of Santiago de Cape Verde created the Comissão Diocesana para a Proteção de Menores (CDPM-DS, Diocesan Commission for the Protection of Minors). It is an advisory board on matters relating to the sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults.

During its Plenary Assembly, the French Bishops welcomed and listened to the “victims of pedophilia”. The Bishops of France decided to establish an independent commission to investigate the sexual abuse of minors in the Church in France since 1950, and evaluate measures enacted by the CEF since the first decade of the 21st century. A report will be issued within 18 months to 2 years.

The Diocese of Port-Louis (Mauritius) updated its protocol indicating the procedures to be followed when allegations surfaced. This protocol has been adopted by the Diocese of Port Victoria (Seyclelles), and the Apostolic Vicariate of Rodrigues (Mauritius).

The Bishops’ Conference of Mexico created “Equipo Nacional para la Protecció de Menores” composed of bishops, priests and lay experts to address the sexual abuse of minors.

In Australia, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse released its report. The report studied sexual abuse in schools, churches, youth groups, scout troops, orphanages, foster homes, sporting clubs, group homes, charities, and in family homes. This report contains a number of suggestions specifically for the Catholic Church.

The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, on the conclusion of the Apostolic Visitation undertaken by Bishop Urcey, decreed that its founder, Luis Fernando Figari, was prohibited from any contact with Sodalitium Christianae Vitae. This decision would be upheld on appeal in 2019.

Catholic Professional Standards is founded in Australia by the ACBC and CRA in response to the Royal Commission report. It is a lay board operating independently of the Church to hold leaders and members of Catholic organizations “accountable for the safety of children and vulnerable adults who come into contact with the Church and its works”.

The CEF published the third edition of Lutter contre la pèdophilie.

CPLP in France held the first national formation program of Superiors and those working in seminary formation.

CPLP held its second national assembly of personnel in charge of the fight against the sexual abuse of minors on the diocesan level.

The Episcopal Conference of Argentina createed the Consejo pastoral para la protección de menores (Pastoral Council for the Protection of Minors).

The Polish Bishops’ Conference issued the 2nd edition of Wytyczne dotyczące wstępnego dochodzenia kanonicznego w przypadku oskarżeń duchownych o czyny przeciwko szóstemu przykazaniu Dekalogu z osobą niepełnoletnią poniżej osiemnastego roku życia (Guidelines relative to the preliminary canonical investigation in cases in which a cleric is accused of the act against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue with a minor). Available for download in Italian. These guidelines were revised due to changes in civil law.

The Bishop’s Conference of Mexico issued the Protocolo de Protección de Menores based on legislation in force in Mexico.

The Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands agrees with the government that it will treat any later reports seriously and will continue to offer support for victims.

The CDF published that it received 410 cases considered grave delicts in 2017. The majority involved sexual abuse of minors by clerics. No precise number was given.

Peru’s Congress of the Republic created the Comisión Investigadora de Abusos Sexuales contra Menores de Edad en Organizaciones (Investigative Commission regarding the Sexual Abuse of Minors within Organizations). A report before Congress is forthcoming in May 2019.

The ACBC and CRA updated Towards Healing: Principles and procedures in responding to complaints of abuse against Personnel of the Catholic Church in Australia.

Pope Francis published the Motu Proprio As a Loving Mother as an Apostolic Letter which states that Bishops who “through negligence or omission” cause “grave harm to another person or the community” can be dismissed. In addition, in the “case of the abuse of minors and vulnerable adults, a bishop can be removed even for lack of diligence”.

The Congregation for the Clergy published The Gift of Priestly Vocation, Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotalis, which includes a section on the Protection of Minors and the Accompaniment of Victims (Art 202).

The Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines published “You Did it to Me!”:  Pastoral exhortation on the Pastoral Care and Protection of Minors.

The CEF announced the creation of La Cellule permanente de lutte contre la pédophilie (CPLP), an “independent national commission of experts”, “chaired by qualified lay people, and composed of experts…to advise the Bishops in the evaluation of the situations of priests who have committed reprehensible acts”.

The Conference of Major Superiors in France (CORREF) held an assembly with the participation of experts.

CPLP of France held its first national assembly of personnel in charge of the fight against the sexual abuse of minors on the diocesan level.[2]

The Irish NBSCC published the Safeguarding Children Policy and Standards for the Catholic Church in Ireland.

The Austrian Bishops’ Conference published a revised and supplemented edition of Die Wahrheit wird euch frei machen: Rahmenordnung für die katholische Kirch in Österreich (The Truth Will Make You Free: General Regulations for the Catholic Church in Austria). These Guidelines are also available in Croatian, Serbian, Bosnian, Polish, French and Spanish.

Pope Francis wrote a letter to the Bishops and asked them to “take all necessary measures and to protect in every way the lives of our children, so that such crimes may never be repeated” and that they “adhere, clearly and faithfully, to ‘zero tolerance’”.

The Bishops’ Conference of Uruguay released a statement and instituted a hotline to receive complaints regarding the sexual abuse of minors by clergy.

The Interritual Episcopal Conference of Bulgaria published Linee Guida per I case di abuso sessuale nei confronti di minori da parte di chierici (Guidelines for cases of sexual abuse of minors by clerics).

Mr. Deetman published his final monitoring report on five years of activities on behalf of victims of sexual abuse in the Netherlands.

The Mexican Episcopal Conference of Bishops published Líneas Guía del Procedimiento a Seguir en Casos de Abuso Sexual de Menores por Parte del Clérigo (Guidelines for the Procedure to Follow in Cases of Sexual Abuse of Minorsby the Clergy).

The CDF published that in 2016 it received 415 cases involving the sexual abuse of minors by clerics or the acquisition, possession, or distribution by a cleric of pornographic images of minors under the age of fourteen.

The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops published Safeguarding Children: Policy and Procedures.

The Inter-diocesan Commission for the Protection of Children and Young People in Belgium released information regarding the intake of allegations through its 8 diocesan hotlines, the hotline for religious orders, and the hotline for the Episcopal Conference.

[2] Dates regarding CPLP taken from: Rapport de la Conférence des Évêques de France sur la lutte contre la pédophilie dans l'église, 2018.

The CEF published the Directives pour le traitement des cas d’abus sexuel commis par des clercs à l’égard de mineurs, Instruction, approved by the Bishops’ Conference in 2012 and updated with modifications suggested by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2013.

CECH published Cuidado y Esperanza: Líneas Guía de la Episcopal Conference of Chilepara trartar los casos de abusos sexuales a menores de edad.

The Archdiocese of Luxembourg and Trier in Germany organized an international congress attended by people in charge of prevention in their local churches. 14 countries were represented.

The Bishops’ Conference of Argentina published Líneas-Guía de Actuación en el caso de denuncias de abusos sexuales en los que los acusados sean clérigos y las presuntas víctimas sean menores de edad (o personas a ellos equiparados) (Guidelines and Procedures in the case of the accusation of clerical sexual abuse of a minor).

The Conference of Bishops of the Netherlands and the Conference of Dutch Religious established a Reporting Centre for Transgressional Behaviour.

The Conference of Bishops of the Netherlands and the Conference of Dutch Religious adopted rules for a ‘final action’ for victims whose complaints were initially declared unfounded, but were believed to be authentic.

Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph in the United States. Finn had previously been convicted of the failure to report an accusation of child abuse in 2012.

Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Archbishop John Nienstedt and Auxiliary Bishop Lee Anthony Piché of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in the United States. Prosecutors had charged the Archdiocese for failure to respond to reports of the “troubling conduct” of a former priest of the Archdiocese.

The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life appoint Bishop Fortunato Urcey Apostolic Visitor of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae of Peru.

The CDF published that it received 518 cases considered grave delicts in 2015. The majority involved sexual abuse of minors by clerics. No precise number was given.

The Safeguarding Commission is founded by the Archdiocese of Malta, the Diocese of Gozo and the Conference of Religious Major Superiors. The aim of the commission is that of advising Church leaders on policies and practices in the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults.

The book Mitad monjes mitad soldados (Half Monks, Half Soldiers) uncovered physical, psychological and sexual abuse in Peru of the leaders of Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, founded by Luis Fernando Figari Rodrigo.

The CEF published Directives pour le traitement des cas d’abus sexuel commis par des clercs à l’égard de mineurs (Guidelines for handling cases of sexual abuse of minors by clerics).

Pope Francis instituted the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors for the purpose of studying and proposing ways and solutions that are appropriate for an efficacious protection of minors at different levels of the life of the Church.

The Swiss Bishops’ Conference published Sexual Abuse in the Ecclesial Context: Directives of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference and the Union of Major Superiors of Switzerland. This is the third edition of the publication Sexual Abuse in Pastoral Ministry: Diocesan Directives first published in 2002. Directives in German. Directives in French. Directives in Italian.

The Italian Bishops’ Conference issued Guidelines for cases of sexual abuse against minors by clerics intended to facilitate the correct application of Church law and to situate the issue in relationship to Italian regulations.

Pope Francis publishes a “Rescriptum ex audientia ss.mi" regarding the creation of a college, within the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, for the examination of ecclesiastical appeals involving delicta graviora.

The Archdiocese of Luxembourg updated Leitlinien der Erzdiözese Luxemburg für den Umgang mit sexualisierter Gewalt an Minderjährigen und erwachsenen Schutzbefohlenen im kirchlichen Bereich (Guidelines of the Archdiocese of Lumembourg for dealing with sexual violence against minors and vulnerable adults in the Church).

The Episcopal Conference of Colombia prepared Líneas – Guía para la redaccion de los decretos diocesanos de protección de menores to aid the preparation of protocol at the diocesan level.

The Bishops’ Conference of Lithuania published Prevencijos Gairės Dėl Katalikų Bažnyčioje Dirbančių Dvasininkų, Vienuolių, Savanorių Ir Kitų Darbuotojų Elgesio Su Nepilnamečiais (Safeguarding Guidelines)

The Polish Bishops’ Conference published Wytyczne dotyczące wstępnego dochodzenia kanonicznego w przypadku oskarżeń duchownych o czyny przeciwko szóstemu przykazaniu Dekalogu z osobą niepełnoletnią poniżej osiemnastego roku życia (Guidelines relative to the preliminary canonical investigation in cases in which a cleric is accused of the act against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue with a minor). Available for download in Italian. These guidelines are subsequently revised in 2017 due to changes in civil law.

Theresa May, in her capacity as Home Secretary, commissioned the Independent Inquiry into Child Abuse.

The CDF published that it received 544 cases considered grave delicts in 2014. No precise number regarding the cases specifically regarding the sexual abuse of minors was given.

The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops drafted Safeguarding Children: Policy and Procedures.

The Belgian Commssion Interdiocésaine pour la Protection des Enfants et des Jeunes (Interdiocesan Commission for the Protection of Children and Young People) published Du Tabou à la Prévention: Code de conduit en vue de la prevention d’abus sexuels et de comportements transgressifs dans les relations pastorals avec les enfants et les jeunes (From Taboo to Prevention: Code of Conduct for the Prevention of sexual abuse and transgressive behaviour in pastoral relationships with children and young people).

The Maltese Ecclesiastical Province published an updated edition of On Cases of Sexual Abuse in Pastoral Activity: Statement of Policy and Procedures in Cases of Sexual Abuse.

The Bishops’ Conference covering the Indian Ocean (Comoros, Mauritius, Réunion, Seychelles), published Directives communes (Common Directives). They invited each diocese and vicariate of CEDOI to publish diocesan Protocol.

The Bishops’ Conference of Slovakia published Postup v prípadoch sexuálneho zneužívania klerikmi (The procedure in cases of sexual abuse by clerics).

The German Bishops’ Conference published Guidelines for dealing with sexual abuse of minors and of adult charges by clergy, religious and other staff within the domain of the German Bishops’ Conference. Guidelines in German.

The German Bishops’ Conference published Framework Regulation: Prevention of sexualized violence against minors and adult charges within the domain of the German Bishops’ Conference. Regulations in German. Regulations in Italian.

The Apostolic Administration of Estonia prepared guidelines regarding the abuse of minors.

The Episcopal Conference of Uruguay published Protocolo ante denuncias contra clérigos por abuso sexual de menores (Protocol regarding allegations against clerics regarding the sexual abuse of minors).

The Diocese of Reykjavík in Iceland published Almenn tilskipun varðandi ásakanir um ofbeldi eða kynferðislega misnotkun barna eða fullorðinna innan Kaþólsku kirkjunnar á Ísland (Guidelines on Allegations of Violence or Sexual Abuse of Children or Adults in the Catholic Church in Iceland).

The Bishops’ Conference of Argentina approved Líneas-Guía de Actuación en el caso de denuncias de abusos sexuales en los que los acusados sean clérigos y las presuntas víctimas sean menores de edad (o personas a ellos equiparados) (Guidelines and Procedures in the case of the accusation of clerical sexual abuse of a minor).

The Korean Bishops’ Conference published Guidelines for Dealing with Cases of Sexual Abuse of Minors Perpetrated by Clerics in Korea. These Guidelines reflect the observations and suggestions of the CDF (Not published online.)

The Standing Committee on Security and Justice held a hearing in the House of Representatives in the Netherlands on Mr. Deetman’s first monitoring report, of 28 September 2012. Representatives of the church and of victim groups came face to face. After the meeting, agreements were made for regular consultation.

The Commission for Help, Recognition and Reparation for violence against minors in the Roman Catholic Church (HEG Commissie) was established in the Netherlands with responsibility for arranging recognition and reparation solely for victims of violence.

The CDF published that it received 443 cases considered grave delicts in 2013. The majority involved sexual abuse of minors by clerics. No precise number was given.

The Diocese of Port-Louis (Mauritius) promulgated protocol indicating the procedures to be followed when allegations surfaced.

Former Auxiliary Bishop of Ayacucho, Peru, Gabino Miranda is dismissed from the clerical state for having sexually abused minors.

The CBCEW’s National Catholic Safeguarding Commission published the Procedures Manual Towards a Culture of Safeguarding.

“Toward Healing and Renewal”, an international symposium coordinated by Fr Hans Zollner, SJ, and organized at the Pontifical Gregorian University, is attended by representatives of 110 episcopal conferences and 35 religious institutes. Participants received input on different aspects of the issue and how to face them in their own countries by developing Guidelines and other adequate instruments.

The Centre for Child Protection (CCP) was founded by the Institute for Psychology at the Pontifical Gregorian University to form persons specialized in the prevention of sexual abuse and the protection of minors.

The Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) approves Linee guida per i casi di abuso sessuale nei confronti dei minori da parte di chierici. They are subsequently revised according to requests from the CDF and published in 2014.

Robert Spanó, President of the Faculty of Law at the University of Iceland published an independent report commissioned by Bishop Peter Bürcher. The report is the result of an independent investigation into practices and responses regarding accusations on the part of the Catholic Church.

The Bishops’ Conference of Belarus published “Guidelines regarding the way to proceed in cases of sexual abuse of minors committed by the clergy”. Link not available.

The Korean Bishops’ Conference approved Guidelines for Dealing with Cases of Sexual Abuse of Minors Perpetrated by Clerics in Korea. (Not published online.)

The former Deetman Commission published its first monitoring report in the Netherlands. It was discussed in the House of Representatives’ Standing Committee on Security and Justice.

The CDF published that it opened 29 judicial penal processes and 163 administrative penal processes. 57 cases were submitted to the Holy Father to make a non-appealable decision to dismiss the accused from the clerical state. 67 other cases ended in dismissing the accused from the clerical state.

The Belgian Bishops and the major superiors of Belgium published Une Souffrance cachée: Pour une approche globale des abus sexuels dans l’Eglise (Hidden Suffering: For a Global Approach to Sexual Abuse in the Church).

The Belgian Bishops established the Commission of the Belgian Church to protect children and youngsters, led by professor Manu Keirse of the Catholic University of Louvain.

The CEF approved Directives pour le traitement des cas d’abus sexuel commis par des clercs à l’égard de mineurs (Guidelines for handling cases of sexual abuse of minors by clerics). It would later be published in 2015 after the text went through an examination process with the CDF.

“Towards Healing”, a new Counselling and Support Service for Survivors of Clerical and Religious Abuse and a Helpline is launched in Ireland, taking the place of the Faoiseamh Counselling Service which had been in existence since 1997.

Circular Letter to assist Episcopal Conferences in developing guidelines for dealing with cases of sexual abuses of minors perpetrated by clerics is published by the CDF and includes a summary of applicable canonical legislation. Each Conference was asked to prepare or update Guidelines within one year.

Fr Fernando Karadima is found guilty by the Vatican of the sexual and psychological abuse of minors.

The National Committee for Professional Standards of the ACBC and CRA released Integrity in the Service of the Church: A Resource Document of Principles and Standards for Lay Workers in the Catholic Church in Australia.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland established the McLellan Commission  to review safeguarding policies in the Catholic Church in Scotland.

The USCCB revised the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People for the second time.

The Episcopal Conference of Chile (CECH) established the Consejo Nacional de Prevención de abusos y Acompañamiento de Victimas (National Council for the Prevention of Abuse and the Accompaniment of Victims).

The Archdiocese of Luxembourg published Leitlinien der Erzdiözese Luxemburg für den Umgang mit sexualisierter Gewalt an Minderjährigen und erwachsenen Schutzbefohlenen im kirchlichen Bereich (Guidelines of the Archdiocese of Lumembourg for dealing with sexual violence against minors and vulnerable adults in the Church). An updated version was released in 2014.

The Swiss Bishops’ Conference published the 2nd edition of Sexual Abuse in Pastoral Ministry: Diocesan Directives. A 3rd edition would be released later in 2014 under the title Sexual Abuse in the Ecclesial Context: Directives of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference and the Union of Major Superiors of Switzerland. Directives in German. Directives in French. Directives in Italian.

The Bandell Commission recommended the establishment of an independent Reporting Centre for Sexual Abuse of Minors within the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands, with a Victim Support Platform, a Complaints Committee and a Compensation Committee. Oversight is to be exercised by an independent body, the Management and Monitoring Foundation on Sexual Abuse within the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands (Stichting Beheer en Toezicht).

The Deetman Commission publisheed the report ‘Sexual Abuse of Minors in the Roman Catholic Church’.

The Bishops in Finland published Den katolske Kirkes beredskab over for seksuelle overgreb mod børn og unge begået af præster eller andre kirkelige medarbejdere (The preparedness of the Catholic Church against sexual abuse of children and adolescents committed by priests or other ecclesiastical staff). It contains regulations as well as an overview of the history of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and specifically in Denmark.

The Canisius College case erupts in Germany and the Episcopal Conference of Germany initiates public debate on the topic of the sexual abuse of minors and renews their Guidelines.

The ICBC and representatives of four groups representing victims of abuse met together. It was decided that a group of bishops would continue to meet with survivors.

Pope Benedict XVI called all the Bishops of Ireland to Rome and issued a pastoral letter to all the Catholics of Ireland.

Pope Benedict XVI meets with the Bishops of Ireland. He “observed that the sexual abuse of children and young people is not only a heinous crime, but also a grave sin which offends God and wounds the dignity of the human person created in his image. While realizing that the current painful situation will not be resolved quickly, he challenged the Bishops to address the problems of the past with determination and resolve, and to face the present crisis with honesty and courage”.

Apostolic Visitation of all dioceses and seminaries in Ireland is mandated by Pope Benedict XVI and took place from November 2010 to March 2012.

Benedict XVI introduced changes, in substance and procedure, to the Norms concerning the more grave delicts reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which now include the “acquisition, possession, or distribution” of child pornography.

The CEF released the second edition of Lutter contre la pédophilie.

The John Jay College of Criminal Justice presented The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010.

The Austrian Bishops’ Conference published the first edition of Die Wahrheit wird euch frei machen: Rahmenordnung für die katholische Kirch in Österreich (The Truth Will Make You Free: General Regulations for the Catholic Church in Austria). This text will later be updated in 2016.[3] These Guidelines are also available in Croatian, Serbian, Bosnian, Polish, French and Spanish.

The Austrian Bishops’ Conference established an Independent Victim Protection Advocacy Office (Unabhängigen Opferschutzanwaltschaft), an independent commission available to all victims of abuse and violence in Church and society.

The Austrian Bishops’ Conferences established Ombudsstellen gegen Gewalt und Sexuellen Missbrauch im kirchlichen Bereich, a network of diocesan public advocates on behalf of the victims of clergy sexual abuse. The Austrian Federal Government established a similar entity, called the Independent Victim Protect Commission, based on the model of the Church-sponsored entity, and tapped into its staff as well.

The Austrian Church established the Catholic Church’s Foundation for Victim Protection founded to enact the recommendations of the Independent Victims’ Commission.

The ACBC and CRA updated Towards Healing: Principles and procedures in responding to complaints of abuse against personnel of the Catholic Church in Australia.

The Archdiocese of Luxembourg initiates a hotline and publishes a report on cases of abuse within the Church in Luxembourg.

The Bishops’ Conference of Spain published Protocolo de actuación de la Iglesia en España para tratar los casos de los delitos más graves cometidos contra la moral por parte de clérigos (Procedure for handling cases of the most serious moral crimes committed by clerics in the Church in Spain) and Protocolo de actuación según la legislación del estado (Procedures according to State legislation).

The Swiss bishops publicly asked forgiveness for abuses committed.

A stream of complaints from victims of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church in the Netherlands followed the publication of reports by NRC Handelsblad and the Wereldomroep (the Dutch world broadcasting service). Practically all of the cases were barred from action under criminal and civil law by the statute of limitations.

The Conference of Bishops of the Netherlands and the Conference of Dutch Religious initiated an independent inquiry by a commission chaired by former minister and Speaker of the Dutch House of Representatives, Wim Deetman.

The Deetman Commission publisheed an interim report, which called mainly for the reorganisation of Help & Justice. The Conference of Bishops of the Netherlands and the Conference of Dutch Religious decide to delegate implementation of the recommendation to a committee chaired by Mr. Ronald Bandell, a former mayor of Dordrecht.

The Belgian Episcopal Conference established a commission, led by professor Adriaenssens of the Catholic University of Louvain.

[3] See The Austrian Church’s measures against abuse and violence for more detailed information. German version.

The ICBC held a special meeting on Safeguarding Children in response to the NBSCCC’s Report on the Management of Two Child Protection Cases in the Diocese of Cloyne published in 2008 and the HSE Audit of Catholic Church Dioceses reports published in 2009. The Irish Bishops admit that “victims who have come forward, and those who are unable to do so for a variety of complex reasons, have once again had their wounds of abuse opened by Church failure” and agree to three  items.

Ireland’s NBSCCC publishes Safeguarding Children: Standards and Guidance Document for the Catholic Church in Ireland.

Apostolic Visitation of the Legionaries of Christ is mandated by Pope Benedict XVI, leading to the revision of their Constitutions.

Benedict XVI grants special faculties to the Congregation for the Clergy, one of which allows it to present cases in which a priest has violated his vow of celibacy directly to the Pope.

The Ryan Report is published in Ireland regarding abuse (all forms of abuse) that took place in institutions which provided services to children, mostly under the auspices of the Catholic Church.

The results of the Murphy Report, which looked at abuse over 30 years by members of the clergy of the archdiocese of Dublin, is published.

The Church in Slovenia formed a dedicated group of experts. This group is “formed by a civil lawyer, a canon lawyer and a psychotherapist to recommend the procedure to be followed to individual Ordinaries regarding complaints received. The main objective is the maximum prevention of every possible crime against the safety of minors and vulnerable adults as well as the "zero tolerance" towards behaviors considered risky as well as crimes that have been reported” (citing information solicited from the spokesperson for the Slovenian Bishops’ Conference).

The CBCEW and the Conference of Religious of England and Wales (CoR) formed the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission based on the results of the Cumberlege Commission.

The diocese of London, Ontario, Canada publishes a Safe Environment Policy. It was subsequently updated in 2014 and 2016.

The Cumberlege Commission, an ecclesiastical commission chaired by Julia Cumberlege, released its review of the CBCEW’s prevention policies.

The National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCCC) in Ireland is established to provide best practices and monitor the safeguarding of Children.

The first annual Child and Youth Protection Leadership Conference, sponsored by the USCCB Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection is held. These conferences allow “Child protection and victim assistance leaders from Catholic dioceses across the United States…to discuss key issues related to abuse and learn from international experts”. 

 The John Jay College of Criminal Justice, on the request of the USCCB issued a Supplementary Report to its 2004 report.

“The Church in Slovenia has placed great emphasis on protecting minors from the outset, limiting damage and acting in advance. With the communist dictatorship, which lasted from 1945 to 1992, Catholic education was almost non-existent and for this reason the potential abusers did not have direct contact with minors. With the arrival of democracy, some Catholic schools have opened but they represent less than 3% of the school population in the country. Prevention actions, on the other hand, were already adopted in 2006, with the introduction of the first guidelines….” (citing information solicited from the spokesperson for the Slovenian Bishops’ Conference).

Marcial Maciel, Founder of the Legionaries of Christ, is judged guilty by the CDF.

The ICBC publishes Towards Healing: a Lenten Reflection on child sexual abuse.

An official government investigation into the allegations of clerical sexual abuse in the diocese of Ferns, County Wexford in Ireland, issued the Ferns Report. The Ferns Inquiry identified more than 100 allegations of such abuse committed between 1962 and 2002 and 21 priest perpetrators. It also detailed the Church response during that time.

The ICBC held a special meeting in which the Irish Bishops “apologised to all those people hurt at the hands of abusers in the Church. Bishops expressed their deep sadness at the findings of the Ferns Inquiry and especially those pages retelling the pain experienced by those who have suffered.”

The first accredited Diocesan Child Protection Trainers are certified in Ireland.

The ICBC, the Conference of Religious of Ireland (CORI) and the Irish Missionary Union published Our Children Our Church: Child Protection Policies and Procedures for the Catholic Church in Ireland.

The USCCB revised its Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People for the first time. The Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons was developed by the Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse of the USCCB and by the Vatican-U.S. Bishops’ Mixed Commission on Sex Abuse Norms. They were approved by the full body of US bishops at its June 2005 General Meeting.” Later they received the subsequent recognitio of the Holy See and were promulgated in 2006. The revised Statement of Episcopal Commitment, developed by the USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee on Bishops’ Life and Ministry is approved by the USCCB in 2005, 2011 and 2018.

Functions of the members of the NRB are revised slightly and reconfirmed by the USCCB.

The NRB engaged the John Jay College of Criminal Justice to conduct research regarding “the nature and scope of the problem of sexual abuse of minors by clergy”. The John Jay Report, entitled The Nature and Scope of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States 1950-2002 is released.

The National Committee for Professional Standards of the ACBC and CRA updated Integrity in Ministry: A Document of Principles and Standards for Catholic Clergy and Religious in Australia.

The Boston Globe, reports the cover up of cases of sexual abuse on the part of Cardinal Law and his predecessors. Cases of sexual abuse on the part of certain priests had already received nation-wide attention (for example, the Porter case in 1992).

The USCCB established the National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People (NRB) to collaborate with the Bishops in preventing the sexual abuse of minors by persons serving in the Church.

The USCCB approved the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People a “comprehensive set of procedures…for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy”.

The USCCB formed the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People for the purpose of advising the USCCB on “all matters related to child and youth protection and is to oversee the development of the plans, programs, and budget of the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection”.

The USCCB forms the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection to assist the US Bishops “on all matters related to child and youth protection, and to oversee the development of the Conference’s plans and programs for child and youth protection”.

The German Bishops’ Conference introduces Guidelines.

Pope John Paul II meets with the Cardinals of the United States.

The CEF released the first edition of Lutter contre la pédophilie.

The Swiss Bishops’ Conference publishes Sexual Abuse in Pastoral Ministry: Diocesan Directives. A second edition is published in 2011, and a third, in 2014 under the title Sexual Abuse in the Ecclesial Context: Directives of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference and the Union of Major Superiors of Switzerland. Directives in German. Directives in French. Directives in Italian.

The Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons, received the recognitio of the Holy See and are promulgated. The United States is the only territory in which particular law in addition to universal law applies to clerical sexual abuse of minors.

Motu Proprio Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela (SST) is published by which the Norms concerning the more grave delicts reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are promulgated. Sexual abuse of minors committed by a deacon, priest or bishop is added to those considered “most grave delicts,” and placed under the jurisdiction of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Norms will be updated again under Benedict XVI to include pornography as well (see below).

Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW) released A Programme for Action: Final Report of the Independent Review on Child Protection in the Catholic Church in England and Wales (The Nolan Report). This report was initiated by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor and was entrusted to Lord Nolan who chaired an independent committee to conduct a review on child protection in the Catholic Church of England and Wales.

The ICBC announced the establishment of a new Child Protection Office.

The Conference of Bishops of France (CEF) address “the difficult problem of Pedophilia” in a Plenary Assembly in Lourdes. They released a declaration, saying “the Church condemns these acts of pedophilia, the French bishops stated: ‘When the aggressor is a priest, there is a double betrayal. Not only does an informed adult impose his impulses on a minor, but his actions contradict the Gospel he proclaims. The bishops understand how deep and how often unspeakable is this injury to children or adolescents. They experience true suffering and the bishops are in solidarity with the victims and their families.’ ”

The ACBC and CRA update Towards Healing: Principles and procedures in responding to complaints of abuse against personnel of the Catholic Church in Australia.

An official commission is established in Belgium to handle allegations of sexual abuse within the context of pastoral relationships.

The National Committee for Professional Standards publishes Integrity in Ministry: a Document of Principles and Standards for Catholic Clergy and Religious in Australia. This is the result of a 1996 comprehensive plan of the ACBC and CRA “to respond to the revelations of abusive behaviour that had recently come to light”.

The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference published a protocol for the sexual abuse of minors. It was subsequently revised 5 times, the most revision being that of 2013.

The Maltese Ecclesiastical Province Conference and the Major Superiors’ Conference published On Cases of Sexual Abuse in Pastoral Activity: Statement of Policy and Procedures in Cases of Sexual Abuse and instituted a Response Team responsible for investigating allegations of the sexual abuse of minors. An updated version of the Statement of Policy was later issued in 2014.

The National Catholic Risk Retention Group convenes national child sexual abuse experts which leads to the creation of the VIRTUS® program now used in over 80 US dioceses. The program trains those who interact with children in the prevention of abuse.

The Maltese Ecclesiastical Province Conference and the Major Superiors’ Conference approved On Cases of Sexual Abuse in Pastoral Activity: Statement of Policy and Procedures in Cases of Sexual Abuse presented by the Interdiocesan Commission on Cases of Sexual Abuse in Pastoral Activity.

The Belgian Bishops’ Conference initiated two points of contact to accompany persons who had been sexually abused by priests (one for French speakers and one for Dutch speakers).

 “The Interdiocesan Commission on Cases of Sexual Abuse in Pastoral Ministry appointed by the Bishops of Malta and Gozo in collaboration with the Major Superiors’ Conference”[1] of Malta meet for the first time.

[1] On Cases of Sexual Abuse in Pastoral Activity: Statement of Policy and Procedures in Cases of Sexual Abuse, page 1.

The Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ICBC) Advisory Committee on Child Sexual Abuse by Priests and Religious issued a report entitled Child Sexual Abuse: Framework for a Church Response.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) and Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) released Towards Healing: Principles and procedures in responding to complaints of abuse against personnel of the Catholic Church in Australia, a pastoral, non-legal response for those who have been abused. This document was subsequently updated in 2000, 2010 and 2016.

The Church in the Netherlands established Help & Justice (Hulp & Recht), a body for victims of sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands (See Reporting Centre Sexual Abuse within the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands for all statistics on the Church in the Netherlands).

The USCCB’s Priestly Life and Ministry subcommittee on Sexual Abuse organized a “Think Tank”. This “Think Tank” released a report and made recommendations to the Bishops’ Conference who announced the formation of the Ad Hoc Committee of Sexual Abuse.

The CCCB publishes From Pain to Hope, a report by the Ad Hoc Committee on Child Sexual Abuse. This is the “first public document of its kind by an episcopal conference anywhere in the world, this report offered advice and guidance for all Catholics, including bishops and others responsible for priestly formation and for the clergy, together with recommendations on how to respond to what it recognized as a pervasive and extensive problem throughout society and within the Church itself.” It ”was appreciated by episcopal conferences in other countries as well” (PMSA, 14). In it, the Canadian Bishops stated: “We would like to see our Church face, with clarity and courage, the decisions that must be taken in light of the failure that child abuse represents for society and the Church itself…. These decisions will call for change in the attitudes of those who are wholeheartedly to defend children and other vulnerable people in society…. We would like to see our Church take firm steps which would leave no doubt as to its genuine desire to eradicate the phenomenon of child sexual abuse” (From Pain to Hope, 40-41).

The equivalent of what is now the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) codified Five Principles meant to help dioceses respond to allegations of clergy sexual abuse.”

Rix Rogers, Special Advisor to the Minister of National Health and Welfare on Child Sexual Abuse in Canada, published Reaching for Solutions.

The Archdiocese of St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, publishes The Report of the Archdiocesan Commission of Enquiry into the Sexual Abuse of Children by Members of the Clergy.

Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Response of the Newfoundland Criminal Justice System to Complaints is published by the Honourable S.H.S. Hughes, Q.C. Commissioner.

Mount Cashel case is exposed, Canada’s largest sexual abuse scandal, and one of the largest in the world, involving the Christian Brothers of Ireland in Canada (CBIC).

Diocese of London, Ontario, Canada, develops a policy for dealing with sexual abuse by priests[1]. This policy was subsequently revised in 1994.

CCCB mandated the creation of a committee to elaborate additional policies for individual dioceses.

 

[1] Information specifically regarding Canada: Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Protecting Minors from Sexual Abuse: a Call to the Catholic Faithful in Canada for Healing, Reconciliation, and Transformation, 2018 (PMSA).

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) circulated possible guidelines which could be applied at the diocesan level.

The Badgley Report, Sexual Offense Against Children in Canada, is released in Canada.