Vatican publishes Statutes of Commission for child abuse prevention


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Sean O’Malley

In the original Chirograph, the Pope asks for “cooperation” with those outside the Church who share its aims. The documents also highlights the “responsibility” of local Churches and work groups

iacopo scaramuzzi
Taken from Vatican Insider

The Vatican has published the Statutes of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, a body for the prevention of child abuse, led by US cardinal Sean O’Malley. The Commission was announced in December 2014 and as the six-point document says, its aim is to “propose initiatives to the Roman Pontiff” “to promote local responsibility in the particular Churches, uniting their efforts to those of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, for the protection of all children and vulnerable adults”.


The Holy See Press Office has published the Chirograph signed  22 March 2014, with which the Pope makes the body’s establishment official. “For these reasons, and after having received the counsel of many cardinals and members of the college of bishops, together with other collaborators and experts in these matters, I decided to continue the work begun by my Predecessors by establishing a permanent Commission attached to the Holy See. The aim of the Commission is to promote the protection of the dignity of minors and vulnerable adults, using the forms and methods, consonant with the nature of the Church, which they consider most appropriate, as well as through their cooperation with individuals and groups pursuing these same objectives. As I had the opportunity to highlight during an encounter with several victims of sexual abuse,” Francis goes on to say, “I rely on the members of this Commission for the effective protection of minors and vulnerable adults, regardless of religion they profess, because they are the little ones on whom the Lord looks with love. To my collaborators in this work, I ask for all efforts possible to assist me in responding to these needs of these little ones. The Commission’s specific task is to propose to me the most opportune initiatives for protecting minors and vulnerable adults, in order that we may do everything possible to ensure that crimes such as those which have occurred are no longer repeated in the Church. The Commission is to promote local responsibility in the particular Churches, uniting their efforts to those of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, for the protection of all children and vulnerable adults,” Francis underlines.


The Statutes for the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, made public today, are composed of six articles.  They were approved by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, on behalf of Pope Francis on April 21st, and will be in effect “ad experimentum” for three years.  The members of the commission are as follows: Cardinal Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap. (United States), President; Mons. Robert Oliver (United States), Secretary; Rev. Luis Manuel Ali Herrera (Colombia); psychiatrist Catherine Bonnet (France); Marie Collins (Ireland); Gabriel Dy-Liacco (Philippines); psychiatrist Sheila Hollins (England); Bill Kilgallon (New Zealand); Sr. Kayula Lesa, MSC (Zambia); Sr. Hermenegild Makoro, CPS (South Africa); Kathleen McCormack (Australia); Claudio Papale (Italy); Peter Saunders (England); the legal expert Hanna Suchocka (Poland); Krysten Winter-Green (United States) and two Jesuits: Rev. Humberto Miguel Yanez, SJ (Argentina) and Rev. Hans Zollner, SJ (Germany) – the latter is also a psychologist and President of the centre for the protection of minors at the Pontifical Gregorian University.


The Commission is an “advisory body at the service of the Holy Father”, the Statute of the first article (Nature and Competence) reads. The second article (Composition and Members) says the Commission is to have “a maximum of eighteen members appointed by the Holy Father for a period of three years”. The third article (Plenary Assembly) says that an assembly will be held twice a year, possibly via a “videoconference”. The fourth article covers Personnel, the fifth talks about Working Groups, “each” of which is “to examine a specific theme thoroughly and to present specific proposals to the Plenary Assembly.” On the basis of the proposal put forward by one of these working groups, two of whose members are abuse survivors,  the O’Malley Commission recently examined the issue of bishop “accountability”, their accepting responsibility in other words if they react with negligence to reports of child abuse filed against priests within their diocese. The sixth and final article in the Statutes, regards General Norms. It states, amongst other things that: “The Members, staff and collaborators of the working groups are bound to observe professional confidentiality with regard to the reports or information which may come to their knowledge in the course of their duties and function.”


The languages used by the Commission are: Italian, Spanish and English. The Commission’s archives are held inside the Vatican City State. “The norms of these present Statutes shall be observed ad experimentum for a period of three years, at which time the Commission is to present any modifications for the permanent Statutes to be approved by the Supreme Pontiff.


About The Voice Of Bombay's Catholic Laity

Bombay Laity Ezekiel’s Chapter 3 Task as Watchman 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for[b] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
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