The archbishop of Edmonton Richard Smith. Canada’s Catholic bishops are addressing the church’s sexual abuse scandal.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has released a set of new guidelines to protect children from sexual predators in the church.
READ MORE: Here’s what you need to know about the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal
The church said its document, Protecting Minors from Sexual Abuse: A call to the Catholic Faithful in Canada for Healing, Reconciliation, and Transformation, puts the interests of victims and their families first, and calls on all bishops to act on allegations of abuse “with a commitment to transparency and accountability.”
The standards include tougher background checks, lifting gag orders and ending internal investigations of abuse. On Wednesday morning, Archbishop Richard Smith addressed the recommendations in the new document.
READ MORE: Pope Francis summons top church officials to discuss sexual abuse prevention
Pope Francis is summoning the presidents of every bishops conference around the world to a February summit to discuss preventing clergy sex abuse and protecting children.
The Feb. 21-24 meeting of the presidents of the more than 100 bishops conferences is believed to be the first of its kind, and signals a realization at the highest levels of the church that clergy sex abuse is a global problem and not restricted to the Anglo-Saxon world, as many church leaders have long tried to insist.
READ MORE: Protester yells ‘Shame on you’ during Cardinal’s speech on church sex abuse scandal
Earlier this year, Francis faced what was then the worst crisis of his papacy when he repeatedly discredited victims of a notorious Chilean predator priest. He eventually admitted to “grave errors in judgment” and has taken steps to make amends, sanction guilty bishops and remake the Chilean episcopacy, which he accused of helping to fuel a “culture of coverup.”
— With files from The Associated Press
— More to come…
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