The Hungarian Catholic Bishops’ Conference (MKPK) has condemned all forms of child abuse and declared zero tolerance towards it.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, MPKP added, however, that manifestations suggesting that there are links between church profession and the propensity to commit abuse “fail to serve the interests of society”.
Child abuse is a serious sin and a crime, regardless of whether it is committed in school, at sport clubs, in camps, within family, or in secular or religious institutions, the statement said.
“We express our deepest sympathy to all who suffered abuse as a child”, it added.
“We pray for the spiritual peace of victims and for the healing of wounds suffered in the past, and ask for forgiveness on behalf of the perpetrators,” the bishops’ conference said.
All clergymen or anyone employed by church institutions are subject to the same penal regulations as everyone else, it added.
MKPK follows the principle of zero tolerance in terms of abuse committed against minors and this also applies to cases when anyone learns of the abuse committed but fails to report it, the statement said.
The church is continually improving its child protection system, in consultation with Hungarian and international organisations and even offers training in child protection, it added.
MKPK organisations, in cooperation with the Vatican, carry out assessments in all reported cases, and if the acts committed fall under the effect of criminal prosecution, then the aggrieved parties or their guardians are advised to report them to state authorities, it said.
A 2014 decision by parliament in line with which serious crimes including child abuse have no statutes of limitations has paved the way for calling perpetrators to account, MKPK added.
featured image: president of the Hungarian Catholic Bishops’ Conference András Veres. Photo illustration by Márton Mónus/MTI