“Much remains to be done”

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Children addressed several international projects at its tenth plenary session in Rome. According to this, conferences are being prepared in Rome and Latin America.

In addition, education and training on child protection in Catholic schools will be reviewed and expanded, according to a statement from the Vatican. This will happen, for example, through pilot projects in South Africa, Colombia, India, the Philippines and Tonga. The commission's most recent meeting was held from 4. up to 7. April in Rome.

A conference planned for December 2019 in Rome is to deal with "confidentiality and transparency" in connection with church criminal law. In addition, the Commission is involved in the preparation of a symposium in Bogota on "Protection measures in the Church and civil society". Participants include Catholic schools, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, other churches and the media, in addition to the Latin American Council of Religious and Bishops.

Help for abuse victims

In four other initiatives, the panel addressed platforms to hear and help victims of abuse. Tools are also reportedly being developed to review the implementation and quality of protective measures for minors and vulnerable adults.

Additional outside experts participated in the plenary meeting of the Child Protection Commission, which lasted several days. In one segment, members heard the testimony of a woman from Africa who was a child victim of sexual violence at the hands of a priest. Finally, members of the commission spoke with leaders of various Vatican authorities.

Importance of child protection grows

Referring to the anti-abuse summit in Rome at the end of February, the Vatican statement said the meeting showed "that the understanding of the great importance of child protection in the Church is growing," while at the same time "much remains to be done".

Pope Francis had established the Pontifical Commission for Child Protection in March 2014. Its first term was over at the end of 2017. The pope then appointed a number of new members, while others left. The commission meets twice a year under the chairmanship of Boston Archbishop Cardinal Sean O'Malley.

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