Many in the world are watching the Church and how she is addressing the needs of a contemporary Church. The concerns of the College of Cardinals at the last papal election reflected the concerns of the faithful. With a good sense there a new things happening. One such innovation is Francis creating the Council of Cardinals to advise him on the administration of the Church. This work is being shared. Another innovation was announced today: a special commission will be set up to have oversight on matters pertaining to the protection of children and the pastoral care the victims. Clearly, this move of the Pope is a continuation of the good work of Pope Benedict regarding the sin and crime of sexual abuse. I pray that the commission will act decisively and with mercy and justice.
Speaking for the Council of Cardinals, Sean Cardinal O’Malley gave this to the press at the Holy See:
At the briefing on Thursday morning, 5 December, at 1 p.m., alongside the Director of the Holy See Press Office, there participated Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, member of the Council of Cardinals, who gave the following Declaration:
“Continuing decisively along the lines undertaken by Pope Benedict XVI, and accepting a proposal presented by the Council of Cardinals, the Holy Father has decided to establish a specific Commission for the protection of minors, with the aim of advising Pope Francis on the Holy See’s commitment to the protection of children and in pastoral care for victims of abuse. Specifically, the Commission will:
1. study present programmes in place for the protection of children.
2. formulate suggestions for new initiatives on the part of the Curia, in collaboration with bishops, Episcopal conferences, religious superiors and conferences of religious superiors.
3. indicate the names of persons suited to the systematic implementation of these new initiatives, including lay persons, religious and priests with responsibilities for the safety of children, in relations with the victims, in mental health, in the application of the law, etc.
The composition and competences of the Commission will be indicated shortly, with more details from the Holy Father in an appropriate document.”
Cardinal O’Malley then quoted some of the lines of action proposed by the Commission under constitution.
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The meetings will conclude tomorrow afternoon [Friday], completing the review of the different Congregations of the Roman Curia initiated during these recent days.
The next round of meetings is scheduled for the 17, 18 and 19 February, preceding the Consistory of the College of Cardinals due to take place on the 20 and 21 of the same month, and the Consistory for the Creation of new cardinals on 22 February, Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, and the solemn Concelebration of Sunday 23.
In addition, the meeting of the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops is scheduled to take place in the days immediately after (24-25 February).