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Pope to create Commission for the Protection of Children

Dec. 5, 2013

Pope Francis has decided to establish a special Commission for the Protection of Children and February 22 will hold a consistory for the appointment of new cardinals. This is the main news that emerged from the briefing on 5th December, the third and final day of meetings of the Council of Cardinals for the reform of the Roman Curia, held late morning by Father Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See Press Office joined by Cardinal Seán Patrick O ' O'Malley , Archbishop of Boston and a member of the Council.

The Cardinal told press that with the establishment of the Commission for the Protection of Children, Francis has indicated his determination to continue in line with the decisions first made by Benedict XVI. The Commission, a proposal put forward by the Council of Cardinals, has the purpose of advising the Pope in the Holy See's commitment in the protection of children and ministry for victims of abuse. It will report on the current status of safeguarding programs, make suggestions for new initiatives to be taken by the Curia in collaboration with the bishops, Episcopal conferences, and religious superiors; propose names of persons suitable for the systematic implementation of this new initiative, drawn from among laity, religious, priests with expertise in the safeguarding children, in dealing with victims, mental health issues, implementation of laws and so on.

The composition and responsibilities of the Commission will be outlined in more detail in the near future by the Pope, with a papal document.

But Card. O' Malley continued that among the committee's possible responsibilities will be guidelines for the protection of children, the development and extension of standards, procedures and strategies for the protection of children and the prevention of child abuse; training programs for parents, children and all those who work with children, catechists , the formation of seminarians , permanent formation of priests; protocols for the safety of all environments, codes of conduct, certification of suitability for priestly ministry, screening and criminal background checks, state of requests for psychiatric evaluation; cooperation with the civil authorities, the reporting of crimes , attention to civil laws, communications concerning guilty clergy; pastoral support for victims and their families , spiritual care , mental health services , collaboration with experts in research and development for the prevention of child abuse, psychology , sociology, law; collaboration with bishops and religious superiors , optimization of procedures, implementation of laws and guidelines, caring for relations with the faithful and with media, meetings with victims, supervision and rehabilitation of clerics guilty of abuse.

Father Lombardi also reported that the work of the Council of Cardinals is continuing to consider the role of the various congregations of the Roman Curia on a one on one basis and will continue to do so.


It was also decided that the next meeting of the Council of the eight cardinal will again last three days: February 17, 18 and 19, and immediately precede the consistory of the College of Cardinals on February 20 and 21, with the Consistory of the College of Cardinals on February 22 for the creation of new cardinals, and celebration with the new cardinals and the College of Cardinals on February 23. Father Lombardi reiterated that the Synod Council is also expected to meet in the following days, February 24 and 25.


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