Vatican City, 8 May 2015 (VIS) – On 21 April, Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, approved by mandate of the Supreme Pontiff, “ad experimentum” for three years, the Statutes of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, the draft of which had been presented by Cardinal Sean O'Malley, president of the aforementioned Commission.
The Statutes will be published today in the Italian original and in English translation. The document is composed of six articles: Nature and Competence, Composition and Members, Plenary Assembly, Personnel, Working Groups, and General Norms.
The first part explains that the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors is an autonomous institution linked to the Holy See with a public legal personality and has an advisory function in the service of the Holy Father. The protection of minors, the text continues, is of the first importance, and therefore it is the role of the Commission to propose initiatives to the Pontiff, following the modalities indicated in the Statutes, to promote the responsibility of the particular Churches in the protection of all minors and vulnerable adults. These proposals will have to receive prior approval by the majority of two thirds of the members of the Commission. For the elaboration of the proposals, when the matter falls within the competence of other ecclesial bodies, the president of the Commission, with the assistance of the secretary, will consult the competent entities for the protection of minors in the particular Churches, the episcopal conferences, the conferences of the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life, as well as the dicastery of the Roman Curia competent in the matter. This consultation will take place in a transparent manner with the members of the Commission, based in Vatican City State.
The Commission, according to the second part, is composed of a maximum of eighteen members appointed by the Holy Father for a three-year period, which may be reconfirmed, and are selected from persons of recognised competence in various areas linked to the activity entrusted to the Commission. Both the president and the secretary are appointed from among the members by the Holy Father for a period of three years, a mandate that may be reconfirmed.
The plenary assembly, as explained in the third part, will be convoked twice yearly. Upon request by two thirds of the Members and with the consent of the president, an extraordinary plenary assembly may be convoked. For the plenary assembly to be considered valid, at least two thirds of the members must be present; they may participate via video conference.
The members of the Commission, the personnel and the collaborators with the working groups, according to the final part, are required to observe the norms of professional secrecy regarding the news and information they become aware of in the exercise of their tasks and functions.