Pope Francis forms child sex abuse committee at Vatican

Pope Francis waves incense as he celebrates mass in St. Peter's square on November 24, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican.
Franco Origlia

The Vatican has announced that Pope Francis will create a panel of international experts at the Vatican to address the sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church.

The commission will be responsible for keeping the pope informed about current programs in place for the protection of children and suggesting new initiatives.

Projects could include drafting guidelines for the protection of minors, developing training programs to ensure safe environments, promoting care for victims of sexual abuse and collaborating with researchers, the Vatican said.

"We feel that having the advantage of a commission of experts who will be able to study these issues and bring concrete recommendations for the Holy Father and the Holy See will be very important,” Boston’s Catholic archbishop, Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, said Thursday in Rome.

At least one victims rights group was not impressed by the announcement.

The creation of "another commission surveying bishops and recommending policies is meaningless,” the US-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said in a statement. "It's like offering a Band-Aid to an advanced cancer patient.”

"Only decisive action helps, not more studies and committees and promises,” SNAP said. “Clergy sex crimes should be dealt with by secular authorities."

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