“Today, thanks in particular to your efforts, minors and the vulnerable are safer in the Church,” Pope Francis told members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
Pope Francis met with the members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, at the conclusion of their plenary session, on Friday, April 29, 2022, at the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, chair of the commission, thanked for his “persistence” “in spite of all obstacles”.
The Pope also praised the participants’ “commitment to protecting children” in their “professional lives” as well as in their “service to the faithful.” And the weak are safer in the church.”
The Pope stressed the “continuous care” and “continuing attention” necessary for this service, so that “the Church is not only a safe place for minors and a place of healing”, but also “trustworthy in promoting their rights in the world.”
Christ died and rose, the way of healing
The Pope admitted: “The path to recovery is long and difficult.” It requires an “steadfast hope in Christ” who died on the cross. “The risen Christ bears, and will always bear the marks of his crucifixion in his glorified body. These wounds tell us that God does not save us through Him.” passing employment Our suffering but passing via them, transforming them through the power of his love. The healing power of the Holy Spirit does not fail. The promise of a new life does not disappoint. We must believe in the risen Jesus and put our lives in the wounds of his risen body.”
While any abuse is “unacceptable,” the Pope stressed the seriousness of the lifelong consequences of child sexual abuse. He continued: They are “an open wound in the body of Christ, which is the Church,” and urged “to work hard and courageously to make known these wounds, to search for those who suffer from them, and to recognize them as our witnesses to the suffering of the Savior.” The Pope reiterated that “all members of the Church, whatever their living condition, are called to assume their responsibility to prevent abuses and to work for justice and healing.”
Authority: independent and cooperative
Then Pope Francis spoke about the status of the commission, which was established through the new Apostolic Constitution Cdi Evangelium Inside the Dicastery of the Doctrine of Faith (cf. n. 78). He explained that it was necessary to attach the committee to the organization of the curia, and it is this department that deals with sexual abuse by clerics. But the commission is “independent”. He insisted that he is directly linked to the Pope, has separate staff and his “own boss appointed by the Pope”.
The pope added that the constitution “marks a new beginning”: the protection and care of those who have been victims of abuse “must become normative in all areas of the Church’s life”. The Pope therefore hopes for mutual enrichment and the exchange of good practices through cooperation between the Commission, the Dicastery of the Doctrine of the Faith and other cemeteries, and thus also with the local churches. In essence, Pope Francis concluded, “It is up to you to decide together the most effective means.”
Annual review and assistance of episcopal conferences
Noting the positive effects, “where reliable data and resources are available,” the Pope also relies on the commission to create an “authoritative” and “transparent” annual report on the Church’s initiatives to protect minors and vulnerable adults, on “what is being done and what needs to change” so that it can The competent authorities should not act.” The Pope warns that without this progress, “the faithful will continue to lose faith in their pastors and the proclamation of the Gospel will become increasingly difficult.”
Similarly, he urged commission members to “help” conferences of bishops through “dialogue,” by “supervising” their work in establishing commissions and effective means such as “centres where victims of abuse and their families can be welcomed, listened and supported throughout the healing and justice process.” Pope Francis stressed that it would be an “expression of the conciliar nature of the Church”, that is, “companionship and affiliation.”