Protection of Minors Commission asks Synod to dedicate time to safeguarding issues
By Deborah Castellano Lubov
Ahead of the upcoming Synod on Synodality, the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors has made an appeal for child protection to be seriously deliberated during Synod discussions.
In a statement, published in English and Italian, and titled 'A Call to Action on the Occasion of the Consistory for the Creation of New Cardinals and the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops,' the Commission calls for action.
Pope Francis has entrusted and encouraged the Commission, which is within the Roman Curia's Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, but maintains its independence, to speak forth with what needs to be done, and not let others impede their efforts.
In the text, the Commission members urge solidarity with victims and survivors in light of ongoing revelations of abuse.
Moreover, the Commission asks Church leaders to increase commitment and resources to promote safeguarding everywhere, as well as requests that safeguarding be given a priority in the Synod.
The full text of the statement can be read here.
Sexual abuse in Church should permeate discussions
"We ask, that sexual abuse in the Church permeate your discussions as they address teaching, ministry, formation, and governance," the Commission members wrote, noting, "As a community of the reconciled, the Church’s sacred worship should also find adequate inclusion and expression of this most intimate of Church failures."
"While at times it may seem like a daunting set of questions to face," they acknowledge, "please rise to the challenge so that you may address, in a comprehensive way, the threat posed by sexual abuse to Church’s credibility in announcing the Gospel."
They urge Synod participants to dedicate meaningful time and space to integrate the testimony of victims and survivors into your work, noting that most Synod’s participants have their own experiences of confronting or dealing with sexual abuse in the Church, which could become an explicit part of their deliberations.
"We urge you to work towards the day when all ministries in the Church become places of welcome, empathy and reconciliation for those impacted by abuse," they add.
Work toward 'long-overdue goals'
The Commissions' members conclude their statement by saying, "We urge you to work towards these long-overdue goals not just for one or two days during your gathering, but to consider them throughout the entire Synod process."
"Their achievement will be a singular sign of the Synod’s success, a sign that we are walking with the wounded and the forgotten as disciples of the one Lord, in search of a better way," they conclude.
Pope Francis has repeatedly called for combating the scourge of sexual abuse of children and vulnerable persons during his pontificate, issuing significant legislation aimed at punishing anyone, who at any level, perpetrates abuse, and those who cover up.
He called the first Summit for the Protection of Minors in February 2019, gathering all the Presidents' of the world's Bishops' Conferences together in Rome, to address abuse.
Recently, addressing a delegation of the Latin American Research and Training Commission for the Protection of Minors (CEPROME), Pope Francis highlighted the progress made by the Church in eradicating the scourge of child sexual abuse, but called for continued action to safeguard vulnerable people.