“There’s a need for transparency, and a definitive movement toward the culture of disclosure,” said Archbishop Charles Scicluna. He was addressing a press conference at the Vatican Saturday February 23 at the tail end of the summit of bishops to fight sexual abuse.
Archbishop Scicluna said that this transparency is not only important for the Church’s dealing with society but also within the Church itself, from one diocese to another.
He added that “there is a movement within the summit to move forward on the issue of transparency, and not bind these procedures with a top-heavy level of confidentiality.”
The Archbishop of Malta, who is part of the Pope’s core group organising the summit, called for “more communication with the victims who are impacted by what is happening.”
He underlined that many times victims are not aware of the results of a proceeding under Church law against an abuser priest and “have no say.”
He showed that he does not agree with this position adding that victims “need to have a standing.” “If you don’t listen to the narrative of the victims, you will never understand why we need to get it right.”
Files were destroyed – Marx
Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the head of Germany’s Episcopal Conference and a member of the pope’s council of cardinal advisers, admitted Saturday morning that “files that could have documented these terrible deeds and those responsible were destroyed, or not even created.”
During the same press conference addressed also by Archbishop Scicluna, Cardinal Marx said that he was referring to documents of the church in Germany. He also said that victims who come forward are often treated as just witnesses and have their “voices suppressed.”
Need to work together – Openibo
The press conference was also addressed by Nigerian Sister Veronica Openibo who said she was encouraged by a climate of “sodality and collegiality” within the summit and emphasised the need for lay involvement. She emphasised the importance of lay people together with priests and religious, and the bishops. Openibo said that all must work together to listen to empathise to sympathise with victims, to bring this to a final stop.