Book VI of the Code of Canon Law received an update in June 2021 Book VI of the Code of Canon Law received an update in June 2021 

Protection of Minors Commission holds seminar on rights of abuse victims

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors wraps up a seminar exploring and promoting the rights of victims of sexual abuse as minors.

By Vatican News staff reporter

The three-day academic seminar saw around 60 experts in civil and canon law, theology, psychiatry, and the social sciences studying provisions in various judicial systems and evaluating the role of victims in canonical penal procedures.

According to a statement released on Wednesday by the Commission, the seminar was entitled “The Rights of Alleged Victims of Sexual Abuse as Minors in Canonical Penal Procedures.”

The experts were joined by officials from the Roman Curia, and the event compared 10 civil jurisdictions.

“The intention was to learn about the principles that govern different legal traditions with regard to the role of victims in the penal procedures around the world and how these principles unfold in different civil jurisdictions,” read the statement.

Protecting human dignity

Participants spent time discerning what current canon law already provides for, and how the role of victims can be further strengthened in order to protect the dignity of the human person.

The Commission for the Protection of Minors added that it looks forward to diffusing the seminar’s outcomes and studying ways to make existing previsions more widely known.

Confronting crime and evil of clerical sexual abuse

Cardinal Seán O’Malley, the Commission president, said the seminar’s participants were a “visible expression of the Holy Father’s call to us all to be part of a community that confronts and responds to the crime and evil of abuse.”

Events such as this week’s, he added, are an important part of the Commission’s mandate “to truly have frank and informed conversations about what is not working and what must be improved in our safeguarding systems.”

“It is my hope that this Seminar will give greater voice to victims/survivors and clearer directions to those tasked with the responsibility of leadership in our Church,” concluded the Cardinal.

15 December 2021, 16:16