Vatican child protection commission to give feedback on anti-abuse measures to bishops

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28/10/2022
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The Vatican's commission for protecting children has laid out how it will fulfill three primary tasks assigned to it by Pope Francis: to develop guidelines for preventing abuse with bishops' conferences, oversee the implementation of structures to report abuse, and present the Pope with an annual report on safeguarding policies.

In April, the pope charged the commission with those responsabilities so as to improve the Church's credibility.

POPE FRANCIS
It is necessary for the commission to be very attentive, so that the Church can, not only be a safe place for minors and a place of healing, but also fully trusted in promoting their rights around the world.

A new document written by the commission's secretary, Fr. Andrew Small, explains how the commission aims to fulfill those tasks, such as by implementing welcome and listening centers for abuse survivors in dioceses.

It states that the commission will offer feedback on the adoption of anti-abuse measures to bishops during their regular ad limina visits to Rome.

The document also specifies that its annual report to the Pope will not address specific cases of abuse, but give an overview of best safeguarding practices, where they have been properly applied, and where they must still be implemented.

In Rome, the Commission gathered for the first Plenary Assembly since the Vatican's new Apostolic Constitution went into force in June, placing the commission inside of the Roman Curia. 

CARD. SEÁN PATRICK O'MALLEY
President, Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors
For the first time, the Holy Father has placed the importance of child protection as a core of the Church's central government.

We will try to work closely with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, but maintaining our own independence that will allow us to communicate to the Holy Father our recommendations and thoughts.

Last month, Pope Francis doubled the commission's size. It's now 20 members are comprised of canon lawyers, social workers, as well as medical, legal, and pastoral experts. 

JM

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