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A talk given to new bishops during a Vatican-sponsored course does not represent new guidelines on the church’s response to abuse against minors by religious, a Vatican spokesman said. A report authored by French Msgr. Tony Anatrella and just published by the Vatican publishing house “is not in any way — as someone erroneously interpreted — a new Vatican document or a new instruction or new guidelines for bishops,” Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi said in a written statement released late Feb. 11. The monsignor is a psychoanalyst and a consultant to the pontifical councils for the family and for health care ministry. Some media outlets reported that Msgr. Anatrella’s talk, written in French, said bishops are not obligated to report accusations of abuse to authorities. The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith mandated in a 2011 letter that in every nation and region, bishops should have clear and coordinated procedures for protecting children, assisting victims of abuse, dealing with accused priests, training clergy and cooperating with civil authorities. Describing sexual abuse of minors as “a crime prosecuted by civil law,” the doctrinal congregation said bishops should follow local laws that require reporting cases of sexual abuse to police. Not all countries mandate the reporting of abuse cases to police. The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors has now reaffirmed that beyond the mandates of civil law, all members of the church “have a moral and ethical responsibility to report suspected abuse to the civil authorities who are charged with protecting our society.” U.S. Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston, president of the papal commission, issued the written statement Feb. 15.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died of apparent natural causes Feb. 13 while in Texas on , hunting trip, once said in an inter view that while he took his Catholic faith seriously, he never allowed it to influence his work on the high court “I don’t think there’s any such thing as a Catholic judge,” Scalia told The Catholic Review, Baltimore’s archdiocesan newspaper, in 2010. “There are good judges and bad judges.” Scalia said it wasn’t his job to make policy or law, but to “say only what the law provides.” He was widely regarded as an “originalist,” who said the best method for judging cases was examining what the Founding Fathers meant when writing the Constitution. “My burden is not to show that originalism is perfect, but that it beats the other alternatives,” he said in a 2010 lecture. Nominated to the high court in June 1986 by President Ronald Reagan and confirmed by the Senate that September, Scalia was the longest-serving member of the current Supreme Court. He was 79. A funeral Mass was celebrated for him Feb. 20 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.