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Tribute to Women’s Voice in the Matter of Protection of Minors

At Meeting’s Conclusive Briefing

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The participants in the last briefing of the Meeting of Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences of the world on the Protection of Minors, held in Rome on February 24, 2019, stressed that the voice of women was determinant.
Father Hans Zollner, Member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, estimated that the 190 participants were transformed, and that they left the Meeting with true “determination.” He confided that the most determinant moments were the meetings with victims of sexual abuse, especially one woman who shed tears, moving all the Bishops.
For Archbishop Charles Scicluna, Assistant Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, women’s voices are vital; they were “a breath of fresh air,” to continue “in the right direction.” “I return to my diocese with the strong conviction that I must listen first to the victims,” assured the Maltese Archbishop.
In the end, it’s a “change of heart” that’s important, more than laws and rules. The participants acquired the consciousness that abuse is a “scandalous crime,” as well as “its dissimulation,” he added.
The best addresses came from women, said Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias. Theirs was a “different perspective” which enabled to shed another light on these questions. At the end of four days of work, he said he was returning to his diocese, Bombay, “with he consciousness that the protection of minors “must become “a continuous engagement,” adding that “learning from the errors of the past, the Church must now become a model.”
Mexican journalist Valentina Alazraki, who intervened before the participants in the Meeting, pleaded for an “alliance” between journalists and the Church, because “silences” only lead to suspicion, she warned. She wished for “just, appropriate information with fast deadlines.”
Three women intervened during the summit, in addition to the testimonies of abused persons: Valentina Alazraki who asked the Church for better communication, as the lack of transparency is “a new violence to the victims.” Nigerian Religious Sister Veronica Openibo, stressed the urgency to address the question of sexual abuses “in a more direct way, transparent and courageous in as much as Church,” and Linda Ghisoni, Under-Secretary of the Roman Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life, advocated being on one’s knees as “the good posture to treat the subjects of these days.

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Anne Kurian-Montabone

Laurea in Teologia (2008) alla Facoltà di teologia presso l'Ecole cathedrale di Parigi. Ha lavorato 8 anni per il giornale settimanale francese France Catholique" e participato per 6 mese al giornale "Vocation" del servizio vocazionale delle chiesa di Parigi. Co-autore di un libro sulla preghiera al Sacro Cuore. Dall'ottobre 2011 è Collaboratrice della redazione francese di Zenit."

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