Italian Catholic Church launches abuse investigation

31-05-2022

Southern Europe

Lennart Nijenhuis, CNE.news

Matteo Zuppi. Photo AFP, Andreas Solaro

The Roman Catholic Church in Italy has launched an investigation into sexual abuse in the church in recent years. Critics denounce the decision, because this research does not go back beyond the year 2000.

This was announced by the Italian bishops’ conference on Friday, by the newly elected president of the conference, Cardinal Matteo Zuppi. “The Church is on the side of the victims”, Zuppi declared, according to Italian broadcaster Sky.

An academic research centre must prepare an independent report on abuse cases in the years 2020-2021. In addition, there will be a separate analysis of the data on abuse in the years 2000-2021, “in collaboration with independent research institutes.”

Church abuse victims criticised the decision to review only the past 20 years after the news was released. For example, Francesco Zanardi, president of an Italian victims’ association who was abused by a priest as a teenager, points out that many abuse cases from the last century – including his own – remain out of the picture. Zanardi continues to track down and map abuse cases.

Cardinal Zuppi stated that the analysis does not go further back in time because it is “difficult to judge the past by today’s standards.” He added that “there is no need to cover up anything; we are not running from anything. It is our duty to investigate this in the face of so much suffering.”

The report on the past two years is expected to be completed in November. It is still unclear how long it will take for the research into the last two decades to be completed.

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