Church damaged by abuse
Title: Fr. Hans Zollner: Clergy abuse has damaged the church, but ‘more damage has been done to human beings’
Author: Gia Myers
Publication: America Media via Catholic News Service (CNS)
VILLANOVA, Pa. (CNS) — Almost 200 people filled the Driscoll Hall Auditorium on Villanova University’s campus Jan. 29 looking to deepen their understanding about global perspectives on the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.
The evening event was the third conference in the four-part series of discussions with Catholic theologians hosted by Villanova to examine the abuse crisis. It featured Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, a licensed German psychologist and psychotherapist with a doctorate in theology and one of the church’s leading experts in the area of safeguarding minors.
Father Zollner also is the president of the Center for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, a member on the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and a consultor to the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy.
“Father Zollner is committed to providing a safe environment for children,” said Kerry Robinson in her introduction. Robinson is the global ambassador for Leadership Roundtable, an organization of laity, religious and clergy working together to promote best practices and management accountability in the U.S. Catholic Church.
“Much damage has been done to the church” due to clergy sexual abuse, said Father Zollner, “but more damage has been done to human beings.” In responding to this crisis, “many people are engaged in the same mission: a safer church and a safer world,” he said.
The crisis is one of “institutional traumatization” in which wrongdoings have been perpetrated by an institution upon individuals dependent on that institution, according to Father Zollner, who said “steps forward” to address it globally are being made in Rome.