By Mark Abrams

ROME (CBS) — Pope Francis is creating a special commission to address the ongoing sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, emphasizing the protection of children and putting a priority on reaching out to the victims.

The announcement came today from the Vatican and was made by Boston cardinal Sean O’Malley, who has become one of the pope’s key advisors and has led efforts in the American church to address clergy sex abuse.

Rocco Palmo, a Philadelphia-based journalist who covers the Vatican, says it’s a significant move by the new pope, who is working to reform the management of the church.

“(The scandal) has dictated the narrative of American Catholicism in this country for the last ten years,” Palmo tells KYW Newsradio.  “It was not something that was terribly much on his radar as archbishop of Buenos Aires, and he’s had to get up to speed to it over nine months as pope now.”

Palmo says the pope wants the panel to review how the church has handled the abuse crisis and, mostly importantly, wants measures put into place to protect young people and to establish protocols for outreach to the victims of abuse.

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