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"The Catholic Church has a long path to follow with the media" - Vatican Press Office Director

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"The Catholic Church has a long path to follow with the media" - Vatican Press Office Director

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Euronews:

There has been much criticism of the Church’s silence concerning the sexual abuse committed by some of its priests. Now that the bubble has burst, do you think that the media are relentlessly pursuing the Vatican and the Pope? Is there some kind of plot behind this wave of media criticism?

Father Lombardi:

“You have to understand exactly what the Church is, how it is structured and organised. Viewed from the outside it is often thought to be monolithic, like a big, centralised organisation but this is not really true. That’s one thing that really needs to be understood.

I think that there is a long path to follow with the media, a path of more adequate understanding. This is why I don’t regard it as an attack or a plot. I see it more of a path towards finding the truth, objectivity and the real nature of the problem.”

Euronews:

What made the Church so blind to the reality of what happened?

Father Lombardi:

“The big problem of the cover-up, or of not facing the issues, goes back to a time when there was a different culture of discretion on many of these issues, not just within the Church but across society in general. However the big responsibility, which today is no longer excusable, remains. And it demands some very radical, profound work with regards to transparency and clarity.”

Euronews:

Do you think these scandals have diminished the Church’s credibility?

Father Lombardi:

“Objective observers understand that the problem is not just one of the Catholic Church but one that is widespread in society, in other institutions. It’s not less so in the Church; on the contrary it is often more so. But the contradiction of actions which are manifestly opposed to what we teach from the point of view of moral behaviour and respect of others, obviously hurts in a harder, deeper way for an institution that maintains and wants to keep its moral authority.”

Euronews:

Forgiveness is the Catholic Church’s biggest force. Today the Church is asking to be forgiven. But how? Will there be a change in the relationship it has with the faithful? Or will there be a shift in the Church’s mission?

Father Lombardi:

“To be forgiven, to recover your credibility, it is obviously linked to what you do about it, meaning your behaviour. In this sense, all the action being taken, along the lines of dialogue, listening, helping to fully restore justice for the victims, all the action of prevention and better training for those wanting to join the priesthood so that this sort of problem never re-occurs. We have to do all that to fully recover our credibility.”

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“The Church, wounded and cast as a sinner, distanced itself from the priests who betrayed it. The real judgement will be written in the history books and Catholic followers who have not abandoned Pope Benedict. This is Paolo Valenti for Euronews in St.Peter’s Square, Rome.”