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Vatican hosts scientific seminar on paedophilia

The Vatican, rocked by priestly sexual abuse scandals in several countries, has hosted a closed-door seminar of top officials and international medical experts on the problem of paedophilia.

The Vatican said in a statement that eight medical experts delivered presentations on paedophilia to representatives of various Vatican departments at the four-day seminar that ended on Saturday.

"During the symposium, the topic of paedophilia was addressed strictly from a scientific and clinical viewpoint," Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said in the statement, confirming what sources had previously told Reuters.

The guest participants from Germany, Canada and the United States - some of them psychiatrists and most of them non-Catholics - made presentations on the medical, psychological and psychiatric aspects of paedophilia.

The meeting was quietly organised by the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Life. It took place in the Vatican old synod hall and most of the guests were housed in a residence inside the Vatican walls.

The seminar was called to give Vatican officials guidance on the psychological nature of paedophilia. The reports included studies on paedophilia in general society and on the medical debate over whether paedophiles could be cured by therapy.


7 Apr 2003