Holy See Press Office Director, Alessandro Gisotti, met journalists on January 16, 2019, to share additional information regarding the Summit on the Protection of Minors in the Vatican, Feb. 21-24, 2019. Prior to his meeting journalists, the following statement was published, noting elements foreseen in the encounter and noting that Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., former Director of the Holy See Press Office and current President of the Ratzinger Foundation, has been appointed by the Pope to moderate the sessions.
Statement (Working Translation Provided by the Vatican)
The February Meeting on the protection of minors has a concrete purpose: the goal is that all of the Bishops clearly understand what they need to do to prevent and combat the worldwide problem of the sexual abuse of minors. Pope Francis knows that a global problem can only be resolved with a global response. The Pope wants it to be an assembly of Pastors, not an academic conference – a meeting characterized by prayer and discernment, a catechetical and working gathering.
It is fundamental for the Holy Father that when the Bishops who will come to Rome have returned to their countries and their dioceses that they understand the laws to be applied and that they take the necessary steps to prevent abuse, to care for the victims, and to make sure that no case is covered up or buried.
Regarding the high expectations that have been created around the Meeting, it is important to emphasize that the Church is not at the beginning of the fight against abuse. The Meeting is a stage along the painful journey that the Church has unceasingly and decisively undertaken for over fifteen years.
The Organizing Committee of the meeting gathered in Rome on Thursday, January 10, 2019.
At the end of the working session, the Holy Father received in audience the members of the Committee, who provided him with an update on the preparation of the meeting. It will include plenary sessions, working groups, moments of common prayer and listening to testimonies, a penitential liturgy, and a final Eucharistic celebration. Pope Francis assured them of his presence for the entire duration of the meeting.