Sexual abuse in focus as Catholic dignitaries visit Vatican

Vatican City – The leadership of the Slovenian Bishops’ Conference met with Pope Francis during their visit to the Holy See on Monday and Tuesday. Sexual abuse in the Catholic Church was one of the main points of discussion in their meetings, including the one with the Pope.

Apart from zero tolerance to sexual violence, the interlocutors also expressed the belief that victims should be in the focus of efforts, the Bishops’ Conference said in a press release.

The meetings also discussed the need for a multifaceted approach to the issue, underlining that special attention must be paid in the formation stages that priest candidates go through.

The Slovenian Catholic dignitaries also presented to Church officials and the Pope the life of the Slovenian Catholic Church and the challenges it faces, said the press release, adding that the Pope and other officials underlined the importance of transparency in managing Church assets.

The delegation was comprised of the Bishops’ Conference president, Novo Mesto Bishop Andrej Saje, vice-president, the Bishop of Murska Sobota Peter Štumpf, and Conference council member, Celje Bishop Maksimilijan Matjaž.

The bishops visited a number of departments within the Roman Curia, including the dicasteries for the doctrine of the faith, for bishops, for clergy, and for causes of saints, the press release said.

They also met with Hans Zöllner, the head of the Institute of Anthropology at the Gregorian University, which focuses on sexual and spiritual abuse.