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PCPM meets for Plenary Assembly

(Vatican Radio) The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors [PCPM] met for its eighth Plenary Assembly from March 24-26, 2017. The resignation of founding member Marie Collins was a key topic on the agenda. The Commission expressed its gratitude to her and supported her continuing work to promote healing for victims of abuse and the prevention of all abuse of minors and vulnerable adults. During the Plenary the Commision also discussed  the importance of responding directly and compassionately to victims/survivors when they write to offices of the Holy See. The Plenary Assembly followed the Education Day on March 23, at the Gregorian University, co-sponsored in partnership with the Centre for Child Protection and the Congregation for Catholic Education.

 

Please find below the Concluding Statement 

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors [PCPM] met for its eighth Plenary Assembly from March 24-26, 2017. 

A central topic in this Plenary Assembly was the resignation of founding member Marie Collins. The Commission members expressed strong support for her and her continuing work to promote healing for victims of abuse and the prevention of all abuse of minors and vulnerable adults.  They also expressed their particular gratitude that Marie Collins has agreed to continue working with the Commission’s educational programs for new bishops and the offices of the Roman Curia.

Commission members have unanimously agreed to find new ways to ensure its work is shaped and informed with and by victims/survivors. Several ideas that have been successfully implemented elsewhere are being carefully considered for recommendation to the Holy Father.

The Commission discussed the importance of responding directly and compassionately to victims/survivors when they write to offices of the Holy See.  Members agreed that acknowledging correspondence and giving a timely and personal response is one part of furthering transparency and healing.  They acknowledged that this is a significant task due to the volume and nature of the correspondence and requires clear and specific resources and procedures. They have agreed to send further recommendations to Pope Francis for consideration.

This Plenary Assembly followed the Education Day on March 23, at the Gregorian University, co-sponsored in partnership with the Centre for Child Protection and the Congregation for Catholic Education.  Titled “Safeguarding in schools and homes: learning from experience worldwide”, it had a particular focus on Latin American countries that have large Catholic school systems, and presentations concerning efforts in Australia and Italy.  The academic seminar was attended by more than 150 people.  These included prefects and representatives from Vatican dicasteries including the Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin, seminary rectors, educators, formators and authorities from Italian State Police and the Vatican gendarme who are all seen as key collaborators in the PCPM’s educational efforts.  The Commissioners reiterated their sincere gratitude to the invited guests and speakers:  Fr Friedrich Bechina, FSO, Undersecretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education; Mónica Yerena Suárez - Provincia Marista de México Central; Fr Wilfredo Grajales Rosas, SDB – Director del Instituto Distrital para la Protección de Niños, Niñas, Adolescentes y Jóvenes, Bogotá, Colombia; Juan Ignacio Fuentes, CONSUDEC Argentina; Francis Sullivan, CEO, Truth Justice and Healing Commission, Australia and Dott. Giovanni Ippolito, Direttore Tecnico Capo Psicologo, Questura di Foggia.  The speakers were also invited to address the opening session of the PCPM Plenary Assembly.  

The Commission members continue the work entrusted by Pope Francis to assist local Churches with their responsibility for the protection of all minors and vulnerable adults (Statutes, art. 1).  As our Holy Father wrote to the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences and Superiors of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, “I now ask for your close and complete cooperation with the Commission for the Protection of Minors. The work I have entrusted to them includes providing assistance to you and your Conferences through an exchange of best practices and through programmes of education, training, and developing adequate responses to sexual abuse” (2 February 2015).  The Commission is also receiving representatives of bishop’s conferences around the world who are in Rome for their Ad Limina visits.

Commissioners continue to visit episcopal conferences and local churches throughout the world to assist in policy development and implementation of best practices to create a safer environment. So far this year, these include workshops with the Church leadership, formators, catechists and child protection officers in Zambia and Colombia. Members are currently preparing to present to the first European Conference on Formation and Prevention in Seminaries co-organized by the Archdiocese of Florence and the Centre for Child Protection of the Gregorian University, and the upcoming meeting of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences in Bangkok, Thailand this Spring, and the May meeting of the Directors of CELAM and the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences of Latin America and the Caribbean Islands.

An essential element of these presentations is the PCPM Guidelines template. The Holy Father wrote, “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” (2 February 2015).  Thus, at the plenary meeting, the members spoke again of their willingness to work together with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith communicating a “Guidelines Template” to episcopal conferences and religious congregations, both directly and through the CommissionWebsite (www.protectionofminors.va).

(from Vatican Radio)

Pope Francis wants Romero sites to become places of pilgrimage, says archbishop

(CNS) While documentation regarding an alleged miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Oscar Romero is being studied at the Vatican, there is no date scheduled for his canonisation, the Archbishop of San Salvador, El Salvador, has said. “I must say, in all sincerity, that there is no date. And we understand it well because […]

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Christians in northern Iraq ‘on verge of extinction’, says aid worker

(Catholic Herald) A senior aid worker within the Chaldean Catholic archdiocese in northern Iraq has described the Christian population there as “on the verge of extinction” and is appealing to the British and US governments for humanitarian assistance. Stephen Rasche, legal counsel and head of resettlement programmes for the diocese, addressed both Houses of UK […]

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Pope urges EU leaders to ‘blaze the path of a new European humanism’

(Catholic Herald) Europe must recover the memories and lessons of past tragedies in order to confront the challenges Europeans face today that seek to divide rather than unite humanity, Pope Francis has said. While the founding fathers of what is now the European Union worked toward a “united and open Europe”, free of the “walls […]

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Spread hope, preach Christ and don’t worry about numbers, says Pope

(CNS) Visiting Milan, the centre of Italian fashion and finance, Pope Francis spent the morning with the poor and those who minister to them. He had lunch at the city’s historic San Vittore prison, where all 893 inmates – men and women – are awaiting trial. But Pope Francis began his visit on the outskirts […]

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At 50, ‘Populorum Progressio’ takes on new life through Pope Francis

(CNS) These days when Pope Francis talks about integral human development and his vision of a church that goes to the margins of the world, he undoubtedly thanks a predecessor of 50 years ago for the inspiration. Blessed Paul VI addressed “the progressive development of peoples” as “an object of deep interest and concern to […]

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Encyclical’s influence on church’s social action work continues

(CNS) Blessed Paul VI’s encyclical Populorum Progressio (“The Progress of Peoples”) institutionalized social action efforts in the U.S. Catholic Church that continue in one form or another today. Many dioceses nationwide that had not already established an office to address urban affairs or social action office did so in the late 1960s and early 1970s. […]

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Key African cardinal on AIDS, ‘Amoris,’ Trump, Francis, and more

(Crux) One of Africa’s most prominent Catholic prelates says he finds it hard to understand why public opinion so often focuses on condoms when it comes to the fight against HIV/AIDS, when his continent’s experience clearly shows that’s not the best approach. “Take South Africa. It’s a country that went all-out distributing condoms to all […]

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Ex-priest gets 9 months in prison in guns-explosives case

(AP) A former Connecticut Roman Catholic priest has been sentenced to nine months in prison for helping a teenager buy thousands of rounds of handgun ammunition and giving him 2 pounds of explosives powder. Paul Gotta was sentenced Friday in federal court in Hartford. The former priest at two parishes in East Windsor pleaded guilty […]

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Detroit to turn former Catholic school into housing

(AP) Detroit is working with the Catholic Church to turn a former parochial school into a mixed-income apartment building. Officials say the effort to convert the vacant Transfiguration School aligns with Mayor Mike Duggan’s goal to strengthen neighborhoods. Detroit’s Department of Housing and Revitalization is seeking proposals from developers to turn the site in the […]

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