LONDON: The Catholic Church of England and Wales is set to institute its first set of PR guidelines to tackle child sex-abuse scandals.The guides are due to be in place within weeks, and come as the church battles to improve its global image following the recent US pedophilia scandal.
The Catholic Church of England and Wales communications director Mark Morley is coordinating efforts, reporting to the church's media committee.
Church head Cardinal Cormack Murphy O'Connor is also said to be keeping a close eye on how the church handles future scandals.
The details of the guidelines are expected to be similar to the way the church has handled British media interest in the current US scandal.
Morley, chairman of the media committee and Bishop of Portsmouth Crispian Hollis, worked with general secretary Andrew Summersgill to formulate the strategy.
The new approach includes an emphasis on transparency to avoid a deterioration of trust in the domestic church and promotion of its recently created policing system, the Church Office for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults.
The US scandal centers not only on charges of sexual abuse by priests, but also on the failure of the church's senior figures to act on the allegations.
The Pope and US cardinals met in Rome last month, a move that Morley says caught his team by surprise.
The Catholic Communications Service is likely to submit a request to the Vatican that it be forewarned of any similar future announcements.