International News

No Change to Guidelines On Abuse, Vatican Says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – A talk given to new bishops during a Vatican-sponsored course does not represent new guidelines on the Church’s response to abuse against minors by religious, a Vatican spokesman said.

A 44-page report authored by French Msgr. Tony Anatrella and just published by the Vatican publishing house “is not in any way – as someone erroneously interpreted – a new Vatican document or a new instruction or new guidelines for bishops,” Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi said in a written statement released late Feb. 11.

The talk was part of a conference of experts given in September and was “published together with other (talks) on different subjects,” Father Lombardi wrote.

Msgr. Anatrella’s talk addressed emotional maturity and deviant behaviors in the priesthood as well as Church procedures for dealing with accusations of the abuse of children by clergy.

The monsignor, a psychoanalyst and a consultant to the pontifical councils for the family and for health care ministry, “does not say anything new or different from what has been said up until now by relevant church institutions,” Father Lombardi said.

The Vatican recently released the speeches, homilies and reflections from last year’s course in a book, “Witnesses of the Risen One.”