Council of Europe and Vatican to join forces against abuse

Child abuse - a scourge afflicting the whole world and the Church

At a meeting between Pope Francis and Thorbjørn Jagland, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe the two leaders spoke about how to combat the phenomenon of the sexual abuse of children.

In a short interview with Vatican News, the Secretary General said that with the Pope he discussed common challenges to humanity including how to combat the phenomenon that has surfaced again in the world, including the Church, with regard to the sexual abuse of children. “We discussed how we can combat together this phenomenon by joining forces”.

Jagland told Vatican News that he is aware of and appreciate the Popes initiative to call representatives of all the Catholic Bishops for next month’s conference to discuss this problem in a concrete way. The Council of Europe has a Convention about prevention and  portection of victims.

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe suggested to the Pontiff that the Vatican joins this Convention. “It is open for them and others to join. 47 European states have already joined. If the Vatican and the Council of Europe can give a clear message to the world together that the sexual abuse of children is not only unacceptable but also unlawful, it would be a very strong message”.

Jagland believes that the Pope’s voice is very important especially when he speaks about the need to protect the institutions, multilateralism and the need to combat poverty. When the Pope speaks about migration, with which many political leaders feel uncomfortable, his voice is heard and that is very important.

Questioned about peace in Europe, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe said that the original mission of the Council of Europe was about peace. “We are doing this by harmonizing laws, in all of the nation states, which protect human rights and basic democratic rights”.