The Vatican, rocked by sexual abuse scandals involving priests in several countries, this week hosted a closed-door seminar of top officials and international medical experts on the problem of pedophilia.
The Vatican said in a statement that eight medical experts made presentations on pedophilia to representatives of various Vatican departments at the four-day seminar that ended today.
"During the symposium, the topic of pedophilia was addressed strictly from a scientific and clinical viewpoint," Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said in the statement.
The guest participants from Germany, Canada and the United States -- some of them psychiatrists and most of them non-Catholics -- made presentations on the medical, psychological and psychiatric aspects of pedophilia.
The meeting was organized by the Pontifical Academy for Life. It took place in the Old Synod Hall, and most of the guests were housed in a residence inside the Vatican walls.
The seminar was called to guide Vatican officials on the psychological nature of pedophilia, officials said. The reports included studies on pedophilia in general society and on the medical debate over whether pedophiles can be cured through therapy.
The pedophilia scandal swept several countries last year, but its center was in the United States. The former leader of Boston's Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Bernard Law, and other former archdiocese officials face allegations that they knew priests had been accused of pedophilia but failed to keep them away from children.
Law resigned in December, and the Catholic Church in the United States has worked out new regulations to get tough with priests accused of sexually abusing children. But a number of U.S. dioceses are facing financially crippling lawsuits, including 70 new suits filed in Boston in January.