BY No Author | May 13 2015 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Rules for child protection commission

The Vatican has published a new set of rules for its commission to protect children.

After meeting for the first time as a complete entity in February, the Vatican Commission for the Protection of Minors has published their formal statutes, effective for three years.

“The effective protection of minors and a commitment to ensure their human and spiritual development…are integral parts of the Gospel message that the Church and all members of the faithful are called to spread throughout the world,” the Pope said in his chirograph( for the commission. Dated March 22, 2014, the chirograph is the official Papal document which established the foundation of the commission. It was published May 8 along with the statutes.

The statutes were approved by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin April 21 by mandate of Pope Francis. They were published in the original Italian and in English.

Effective ad experimentum, meaning to the test for three years, the statutes serve as temporary, yet formal acting guidelines for the commission. Once the three years is up, modifications can be made before setting the permanent guidelines, which will be approved by the Pope.

Announced in December 2013, the commission is currently headed by Cardinal Sean O’Malley (above) of Boston, while Boston priest Mgr Robert Oliver serves as its secretary. Established by Pope Francis last March in order to explore various proposals and initiatives geared toward the improvement of norms and procedures for protecting children and vulnerable adults, the commission met for the first time with all of its members in early February.

Composed of a maximum number of 18 members, the commission is described in the statutes as an autonomous institution attached to the Holy See and an advisory body to the Holy Father with public judiciary rights. With the protection of minors as a topic of ‘paramount importance,’ the statutes emphasize that the purpose of the commission is to propose initiatives to the Pope which promote local responsibility in dioceses and for the protection of minors and vulnerable adults.

In his chirograph, the Pope noted how there have been many ‘painful actions’ that have caused the entire Catholic Church to do a very critical examination of conscience, which has included asking victims and society for forgiveness due to the harm these actions has caused. The commission, he said, is a response to these actions and marks ‘the firm beginning for initiatives of many different types, which are intended to repair the damage, to attain justice and to prevent, by all means possible, the recurrence of similar incidents in the future.’

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