Pope Francis exhorts Church leaders to cooperate with sexual abuse commission
February 05, 2015
Pope Francis urged bishops and superiors of religious institutes to offer “close and complete cooperation” with the recently-established Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
“At my meeting in July with persons who had suffered sexual abuse by priests, I was deeply moved by their witness to the depth of their sufferings and the strength of their faith,” he said in a letter dated February 2 and released on February 5. “This experience reaffirmed my conviction that everything possible must be done to rid the Church of the scourge of the sexual abuse of minors and to open pathways of reconciliation and healing for those who were abused.”
“Families need to know that the Church is making every effort to protect their children,” he continued. “They should also know that they have every right to turn to the Church with full confidence, for it is a safe and secure home. Consequently, priority must not be given to any other kind of concern, whatever its nature, such as the desire to avoid scandal, since there is absolutely no place in ministry for those who abuse minors.”
The Pope added:
Every effort must also be made to ensure that the provisions of the circular letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith dated 3 May 2011 are fully implemented. This document was issued to assist episcopal conferences in drawing up guidelines for handling cases of sexual abuse of minors by clerics. It is likewise important that episcopal conferences establish a practical means for periodically reviewing their norms and verifying that they are being observed. It is the responsibility of diocesan bishops and major superiors to ascertain that the safety of minors and vulnerable adults is assured in parishes and other Church institutions.
“May Mary Most Holy, Mother of tenderness and mercy, help us to carry out, generously and thoroughly, our duty to humbly acknowledge and repair past injustices and to remain ever faithful in the work of protecting those closest to the heart of Jesus,” he concluded.
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