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Pope Francis

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Vatican's Commission for the Protection of Minors holds first meeting

2014-05-05

The Vatican's Commission for the Protection of Minors, held its first meeting. In a press conference, Boston Cardinal Sean O' Malley explained how the commission will carry out its mission. 

CARD. SEAN O'MALLEY
Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
"In time, we will propose initiatives to encourage local responsibility around the world and the mutual sharing of 'best practices' for the protection of all minors, including programs for training, education, formation and responses to abuse.” 

The Commission which includes clergy, experts and lay people will present recommendations and set protocols to the Pope, which outline what bishops should do in these type of cases. 

CARD. SEAN O'MALLEY
Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
"Our concern is to make sure that there are clear and effective protocols to deal with situations where superiors in the Church have not fulfilled their obligations to protect children. There are theoretically Canons that could apply here, but obviously there have not been sufficient. One of the areas that we are going to deal with is this whole area of accountability.” 

Sheila Hollins is part of the Commission. She is a psychiatrist who specializes in sexual abuse.

SHEILA HOLLINS
Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
"I think the accountability is just incredibly important and we're going to be trying to understand the processes which are in place at the moment and considering whether they can be made stronger.” 

The Pope actually met the group, before it started its two day meeting at the Vatican's Casa Santa Marta. A total of eight experts were appointed directly by the Pope. One of them is Marie Collins, who was sexually abused as a minor. 

MARIE COLLINS
Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
"I'm coming away with a very positive feeling from the meeting. I would like to say, I know there are many many survivors around the world who are hoping and have great expectations of this commission. What I can say so far is you can't make concrete promises, but as a survivor myself I am hopeful that we are going to achieve what is hoped for.” 

The Commission's next meeting date hasn't been set yet. What they do know, is that the group is expected to grow and to include representatives from different geographical areas. The commission will make recommendations, but the Pope will have the final say. 


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