(Rome) The Catholic Church worldwide commemorates the First Anniversary of the Meeting on the Protection of Minors that took place from between 21 and 24 February 2019 in the Vatican. The 190 participants were present in the Vatican Synod Hall and heard three reports a day, from Thursday through Saturday. Three of these were given by women, and all nine interventions followed by a question and answer session. Participants were divided into working groups according to language. There were testimonies from survivors and moments of prayer, at the beginning and end of each day. Pope Francis opened the meeting with an introductory speech on Thursday morning and closed it on Sunday with a discourse after Mass. The Eucharistic celebration took place in the Sala Regia at 9.30 am and Archbishop Mark Coleridge, President of the Australian Bishops’ Conference, preached the homily.
A Penitential Liturgy was celebrated on Saturday afternoon, and which was broadcasted live by Vatican News, as well the Mass on Sunday.
The official website www.pbc2019.org of the “Protection of Minors in the Church” Meeting was set up as a “tool for developing future initiatives”. Fr. Hans Zollner SJ is President of the Center for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He is also a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and the contact person of the Organizing Committee.
Highlights of the Events as follows:
A Press Conference at the Holy See Press Office presents the “Protection of Minors in the Church” Meeting, which will take place in the Vatican, between 21 and 24 February 2019.
Pope Francis opens the “Protection of Minors in the Church” Meeting in the Vatican telling the Bishops and Religious gathered, “the Holy People of God look to us and expect from us not simple and predictable condemnations, but concrete and effective measures to be established”.
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle opened the 3-day Meeting on the Protection of Minors in the Church on Thursday in the Vatican, speaking about the need for pastors to know and feel the pain of abuse victims and heal their wounds.
Opening the proceedings of the “Protection of Minors” meeting on Friday, Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias speaks on “Accountability in a Collegial and Synodal Church”.
Nigerian sister Veronica Openibo delivered an address on the morning of the 3rd day of the Meeting on “The Protection of Minors in the Church”, calling for transparency and proposing a way forward on how to overcome the abuse crisis in the Church.
Five testimonies from survivors of clerical sexual abuse from across the globe were heard on Thursday during the opening of the Meeting on the “Protection of Minors in the Church”.
The “Protection of Minors in the Church” Meeting concludes with a Press Briefing in the Vatican and the announcement of concrete commitments and initiatives to protect children and to combat abuse.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MEETING ON THE PROTECTION OF MINORS
The Vatican on Friday released three new documents from Pope Francis concerning the protection of minors and vulnerable persons in the Vatican City State.
Pope Francis’ Motu proprio, “Vos estis lux mundi”, establishes new procedures for reporting abuse and violence, and ensures that Bishops and Religious Superiors are held accountable for their actions. It includes the obligation for clerics and religious to report abuse. Every Diocese must have a system that allows the public to submit reports easily.
Vatican City State is to implement a system for reporting crimes and cases of negligence regarding the abuse of minors and vulnerable adults by the end of the year.
Pope Francis is now making testimony collected in canonical processes available to legal authorities.
(source: Vatican News)