2014-02-06 Vatican - Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, head of the Institute of Psychology at the Gregorian University in Rome and Centre for the Protection of Minors, says the Church has learnt lessons and has made great strides in the safeguarding of children.He made the comments to Vatican Radio following the publication of a report issued on Wednesday by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child which accused the Vatican of turning a blind eye to decades of sexual abuse of children by priests.

The report comes less than a month after a meeting between the United Nations Committee and a Holy See delegation in Geneva.

Fr Zollner said the report was “harsh in parts but recognises that the Holy See and the Church as a whole has made steps forward.”

Asked about references made in the report to issues such as abortion, homosexuality and contraception, Fr Zollner said there was no reason for these issues to be included, he said, “it looks as if some people… just wanted to make their point…”

Reflecting on the strides the Church has made in the field of child protection, Fr Zollner said that the Catholic Church in countries such as Germany, Ireland and the US is the only institution making inroads in child safeguarding but he points out that more efforts need to be made, especially in the area of helping and doing justice to the victims of abuse