Pope urges Vatican doctrinal office to protect children
Advises collaboration with new advisory commission to nurture 'human and spiritual growth'
Children and young people must always be protected against sexual abuse and always find adequate support in the church community, Pope Francis told the Vatican doctrinal office dealing with suspected cases of sexual abuse by clergy.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith should also look at ways to collaborate with a new papal advisory commission on abuse, which, the pope said, he wants to be an exemplary model for child protection.
"I want to thank you for your dedication to dealing with the delicate set of problems concerning the so-called most grave crimes, in particular cases of sexual abuse of minors by clerics," Pope Francis said in a written speech on January 31.
He called on the congregation, which was given exclusive jurisdiction over a number of these most serious crimes in 2001, to focus on "the well-being of children and young people, who in the Christian community must always be protected and supported in their human and spiritual growth," he said.
The pope asked the doctrinal office to also study ways it could cooperate with the special commission for the protection of young people he established in December.
While the pope has yet to name who will be on the new advisory commission, he said in his speech that he wants the new body to be "exemplary for everyone who is charged with promoting the well-being of children."
Less than a month after his March 13 election, Pope Francis met with the congregation's prefect, Cardinal-designate Gerhard Muller, reaffirming the importance of continuing "to act decisively concerning cases of sexual abuse," according to a Vatican statement.
The pope wanted the congregation to continue promoting measures to protect children; to offer care and help for victims; to implement necessary procedures against those found guilty; and to have bishops' conferences formulate and implement appropriate directives for child protection, the statement had said.
The pope's meeting and speech Jan. 31 addressed Cardinal-designate Muller and members, advisers and other people taking part in the congregation's plenary assembly.
Source: Catholic News Service
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