Vatican City, 12 October 2015 (VIS) – The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors gathered in Plenary Assembly, from 9 to 11 October in Rome. It is the second time that the full Commission has gathered together.
The Plenary Assembly began with Mass with the Holy Father in the Domus Sanctae Marthae. Members then focused their sessions on listening to and discussing progress reports presented by the Working Groups formed in the February 2015 Plenary.
These Working Groups cover key areas of the mission that has been entrusted to the Commission by the Holy Father, namely to advise him, his collaborators and the local church on the following areas of the protection of minors. The Working Groups are:
- Guidelines for the safeguarding and protection of minors;
- Healing and care for victims, survivors and their families;
- Formation of candidates to the priesthood and religious life and the education of Church leadership;
- Education of families and communities;
- Theology and spirituality;
- Canonical and civil norms.
Particular areas of focus of these working groups include research into the assessment and ongoing formation of candidates to the priesthood and religious life; the use of forensic assessments with people accused of a crime; the provision of liturgical materials for the pastoral care of victims, survivors and communities. The Commission does not address individual cases, it does not exercise oversight, and is not a decision-making body.
Since its establishment, the Commission for the Protection of Minors has been invited by Church leaders to place the inter-disciplinary expertise of its members at the service of Church in various parts of the world.
Commission members have taken part in workshops, conferences and seminars on the protection of minors in Ireland, the United Kingdom, France, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and recently in the Philippines, where 76 bishops attended. Next month, Commission members will also address all of the bishops of Central America.
Very positive feedback has been received from the Commission's participation in these initiatives. The Commission’s contribution has been seen as a resource for the local Church worldwide as Bishops’ Conferences continue to develop sound and culturally effective guidelines that reflect the local reality.
The Commission plans to hold its next Plenary Assembly in February, 2016.
Cardinal Sean O'Malley, OFM Cap.,United States of America, President; Msgr. Robert Oliver, United States of America, Secretary; Rev. Fr. Luis Manuel Ali Herrera, Colombia; Catherine Bonnet, France; Marie Collins, Ireland; Gabriel Dy-Liacco, Philippines; Sheila Baroness Hollins, United Kingdom; Bill Kilgallon, New Zealand; Sr. Kayula Lesa, RSC, Zambia; Sr. Hermenegild Makoro, CPS, South Africa; Kathleen McCormack, Australia; Claudio Papale, Italy; Peter Saunders, United Kingdom; Hanna Suchocka, Poland; Krysten Winter-Green, United States of America; Rev. Fr. Humberto Miguel Yanez, S.J., Argentina, and Rev. Fr. Hans Zollner, S.J., Germany.