Italian church welcomes legal action in sex abuse cases



Italian church welcomes legal action in sex abuse cases  Vatican City: Italy's catholic church has welcomed civil suites against priests for alleged sexual abuse, said Monsignor Mariano Crociata, secretary-general of the Italian Episcopal Conference.

"There will be no obstacles to civil proceedings. On the contrary, they would be viewed favourably," he told reporters on Friday following a meeting of the Episcopal Conference.

"The Italian church acts rigorously and with the necessary attention for the victims," he added.

Italian bishops say about 100 cases of sex abuse of minors has been investigated by the church over the last decade. Critics says the number is far higher.

Victims of child abuse by Italian catholic priests gathered last week in the northern city of Verona. Dozens of victims and their families attended the meeting and called for such abuse to be considered a crime against humanity.

The Vatican is facing hundreds of sex abuse cases in Europe and North and South America. The scandal has prompted the Vatican to publish new rules on punishing paedophiles and Pope Benedict XVI has apologised for any negligence on the part of the church.

During a trip to Britain last month, the Pope expressed "deep sorrow" for the sex abuse cases, describing them as "unspeakable crimes".

IANS