The Vatican has today published the text of a letter circulated to bishops’ conferences around the world to help them develop guidelines for dealing clerical sex abuse cases.

The full text can be found here, together with an accompanying letter from Cardinal William J. Levada.

Although the actual text of the letter is already quite short and concise, the Vatican has produced this useful synthesis.

The Vatican says the letter “represents a very important new step in promoting awareness throughout the Church of the need and urgency to effectively respond to the scourge of sexual abuse by members of the clergy.”

“Only in this way,” it adds, “can we renew full credibility in the witness and educational mission of the Church, and help create in society in general, safe educational environments of which there is an urgent need.”