Vatican to brief bishops, religious orders on abuse

June 13, 2011

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The Vatican will use online education and other
methods to help the world's Catholic bishops and the heads of religious
orders deal with clerical sex abuse of minors.

Rome's Pontifical Gregorian University will host a Vatican-sponsored
symposium on pedophilia next February, the Italian news agency ANSA
reported on Monday (June 13).

The symposium will reportedly feature a workshop led by the
developers of Virtus, which its makers describe as a "state-of-the-art,
web-based platform" that provides "best practices programs designed to
help prevent wrongdoing and promote `rightdoing' within religious

The product was developed by the National Catholic Risk Retention
Group Inc., an Illinois-based company that offers "cost-effective excess
liability programs" to Catholic institutions in the U.S.

Monsignor Charles J. Scicluna, the Vatican's chief abuse
investigator, and the Rev. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See
Press Office, are expected to offer more information about the symposium
on Saturday (June 18).

On May 16, the Vatican gave national bishops conferences one year to
prepare "guidelines" on preventing abuse, caring for victims,
disciplining abusive priests, and reporting suspected abuse to local
police. The guidelines may vary significantly by country, and will not
be binding on individual bishops.