Father Hans Zollner, in a recent interview, discussed his efforts in safeguarding and the prevention of abuse within the Church. He reflected on his recent trip to India, where he conducted workshops and conferences on safeguarding. Zollner observed that in India, sexuality is a taboo topic, often leading to issues related to abuse being unaddressed. He noted the alarming statistic from the Indian government that half of the country's youth population has been sexually abused by the age of 18.
Discussing the global issue of abuse, Zollner mentioned that while many cases have come to light in the West, similar stories in Asia and Africa are still largely unheard. He expressed concerns about the pervasive nature of abuse in Indian society, particularly within families and respected sectors.
Zollner also addressed the Catholic Church's role in safeguarding. He acknowledged a positive change in the Church's approach in India compared to six years ago. The Church is increasingly recognizing the issue and taking steps to address it. However, Zollner pointed out the need for the Church to deal with past cases and provide justice to victims.
Discussing the recent controversy involving Father Rupnik, Zollner criticized the Church's handling of the case, highlighting a lack of transparency and accountability. He emphasized the need for ongoing change in the Church's mentality towards abuse and safeguarding.
Zollner, who had worked at the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors for almost a decade, unexpectedly resigned due to concerns about the Commission's functioning, particularly regarding accountability and compliance with safeguarding principles.
Currently, Zollner is involved with the Institute of Anthropology, focusing on research and education in safeguarding. He emphasized the importance of a comprehensive approach within the Church to safeguard children and vulnerable people, combining training, policy development, and active participation from all levels of the Church community.