The Vatican’s doctrinal chief has dismissed accusations that Vatican officials are resisting recommendations on best practices for protecting children from clergy sex abuse.

Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said: “I think this cliché must be put to an end: the idea that the Pope, who wants the reform, is on one side and, on the other, a group of resisters who want to block it.”

The congregation is charged with carrying out canonical trials and seeking justice for victims, while local bishops and heads of religious orders must care for pastoral needs, he told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

Cardinal Müller was responding to complaints by Marie Collins, who resigned from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors last week, citing what she described as resistance from Vatican offices. In a statement, Collins said an unnamed dicastery refused to cooperate on the commission’s safeguarding guidelines or respond to letters from victims.

Cardinal Müller said Ms Collins’s accusations were “based on a misunderstanding” and that bishops and religious superiors “who are closer” to victims of clergy sex abuse are responsible for their pastoral care. “When a letter arrives, we always ask the bishop that he take pastoral care of the victim, clarifying that the congregation will do everything possible to do justice,” he said. “It is a misunderstanding that this dicastery, in Rome, can be aware of everything happening in all the dioceses and religious orders in the world.”

“All of our collaborators humanly suffer with the victims of abuse. Our task is to do everything possible to avoid further crimes,” the cardinal said.

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