Protection of Minors – Archbishop Scicluna says silence unacceptable

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“I will never give up…”

Archbishop Charles Scicluna, president of the Maltese Bishops’ Conference, the Pope’s entrusted reformer in combatting and investigating sex abuse, and one of the four organizers of this week’s Summit on the Protection of Minor’s in the Church in the Vatican, Feb. 21-24, said this, noting that even if it takes time, even if mistakes are made, there is no excuse in his mind to ever stop working toward protecting minors and the innocent in the Church.

The comments were made at the Holy See Press Office today, Feb. 18, where a press conference was held to present the meeting, convened by the Pope, which will bring together the presidents of the world’s bishops conferences and other representatives in the church and in religious life.

The speakers, along with Archbishop Scicluna, who also is an adjunct secretary in the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, this morning included Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, member of the Organizing Committee; Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., president of the Joseph Ratzinger – Benedetto XVI Vatican Foundation, moderator of the meeting; Fr. Hans Zollner, S.J., president of the Centre for the Protection of Minors of the Pontifical Gregorian University, member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors; reference for the Organizing Committee; and Sr Bernadette Reis, F.S.P., assistant to the ad interim director of the Holy See Press Office, along with Alessandro Gisotti, the ad interim director himself.

Fr. Lombardi announced information about the programparticipants, and speakers, and it was noted that press and interested observers and faithful should go to the website, which has been specifically launched for the encounter, providing information, resources and background on the summit itself and the subject matter.

Archbishop Scicluna reminded those present: “This represents a phase of a larger more comprehensive process.”

Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna is Adjunct Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and a member of the Organizing Committee for the “Protection of Minors in the Church” Meeting.

During Monday’s Press Conference to present the Meeting, he made it clear that the event is part of a journey the Church undertook some time ago. It is important it create the right conditions for there to be a concrete “follow up”, he said.

The Bishops will return to their dioceses to continue the work, drawing up “procedures”, being more aware of their responsibilities. When it comes to “protecting innocence”, insisted the Archbishop, “we must not give up”: we need to seek ever more adequate solutions to the problem, so that “the Church may be a safe place for everyone, especially children”. Archbishop Scicluna also spoke of the “expectations” around this meeting, specifying that they need to be “reasonable”. Not all the problems can be solved in three days, he said. Answering journalists’ questions, the Archbishop said it is important we move away from “the code of silence”, because silence is unacceptable, he added.

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich is Archbishop of Chicago, and also a member of the Organizing Committee. He too replied to questions from the many journalists at the press conference, speaking of a “new dawn as far as transparency is concerned”. The Cardinal made it clear that the Bishops present, for the most part Presidents of Episcopal Conferences, must clearly understand their responsibilities in this regard, and that a precise “program of safeguarding” can prevent a repetition of what happened in the past. Cardinal Cupich pointed out that many of those who will be taking part in the Vatican Meeting have met with victims, as requested by Pope Francis himself, and that each one carries “the wounds” of those who have suffered abuse by members of the Church, in their heart.

Fr. Federico Lombardi SJ is President of the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Foundation and Moderator of the Vatican Meeting. During the Press Conference, he illustrated how the three days of discussion will each be devoted to a specific topic: “Responsibility, Accountability, and Transparency”. The 190 participants present in the Vatican Synod Hall will hear three reports a day, from Thursday through Saturday. Three of these will be given by women, and all nine interventions will be followed by a question and answer session. Participants will also be broken up into working groups according to language. There will be testimonies from survivors and moments of prayer, at the beginning and end of each day. Pope Francis will open the Meeting with an introductory speech on Thursday morning, and close it on Sunday with a discourse after Mass. The Eucharistic celebration will take place in the Sala Regia at 9.30 am and Archbishop Mark Coleridge, President of the Australian Bishops’ Conference, will preach the homily.

via Vatican News Zenit



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