(ZENIT News / Rome, 05.09.2023).- The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM) held its Plenary Assembly in the first week of May. In addition to the novelty implied by the participation of the Pope’s most recently appointed members, the Assembly took place in the context of two additional events: the resignation of one of its most emblematic members (German Jesuit Hans Zollner) and the letter of two Irish women to pressure Pope Francis: one a survivor of abuses and former member of that Pontifical Commission — Marie Collins — and the other a former President of Ireland — Mary McAleese –.
The Assembly resulted in a series of concrete measures: from the updating of the guidelines, to commitment to an Annual Report, an agreement with the GHR and the Dicastery for Evangelization (to provide Regional Consultants to give, among other things, formation for the safeguarding of minors, to a Fund for the care and assistance of victims in poor countries.
In fact, this was one of the topics Pope Francis mentioned in the audience granted to the PCPM on May 5: “Your plans have encouraged me to address the inequalities in the Church , in terms of formation and service to the victims in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It’s not right that the more prosperous areas of the planet have well-formed and financed protection programs, in which the victims and their families are respected, whereas other parts of the world suffer in silence, perhaps rejected or stigmatized when they try to present themselves to talk about the abuses they have suffered. In this realm too, the Church must make an effort to become an example of welcome and good conduct.”
According to News.va, the objective of this Fund “is to offer training programs to guarantee greater access to formation and assistance to victims, their families, and communities of the world’s poorest areas. A pilot program was signed with Rwanda’s Church to safeguard the Fund, a protocol of financial outlay was approved, which regulates the use of contributions donated as part of a capacity development program, called Memorare.
At the conclusion of the Assembly the PCPM’s President, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, said: “These events represent an important change for the Commission, to a more focused direction on the results. On occasions, this new direction has been at once abrupt and swift for all of us, due to the urgency of the challenges. The accelerated rhythm of the last six months has caused growth difficulties, given that we tried to respond to both the short as well as the long-term needs.”
The Archbishop of Boston also said that “In our Plenary, we have refined some key adjustments to our work methodology in order to clarify our different roles and create a sense of common property of our mandate and our collective responsibility in implementing it. We have sought the necessary resources to respond appropriately and to trust in the plan we have devised and the people that work with us.”