Pope Francis has approved the creation of a special commission for the protection of children.
The suggestion was made by the eight-member Council of Cardinals currently meeting at the Vatican, and presented to the Holy Father, who subsequently approved its creation.
Cardinal Sean O’Malley, a member of the council, told reporters this afternoon that the creation of the new body continues “decisively along the lines undertaken by Pope Benedict XVI.” The new commission for the protection of minors will have the aim of “advising Pope Francis on the Holy See’s commitment to the protection of children and in pastoral care for victims of abuse,” the Archbishop of Boston said.
The commission will look into current programs that are in place for the protection of children, as well as formulating new initiatives on the part of the Curia. It would also collaborate with bishops, Episcopal conferences and religious on the initiatives.
“The composition and competences of the Commission will be indicated shortly, with more details from the Holy Father in an appropriate document,” the Cardinal told journalists.
The American prelate also listed the lines of action that the new Commission will undertake which include guidelines for the protection of children, formation of seminarians and priests, protocols for environmental safety codes of professional conduct and proof of suitability for priestly ministry.
Cardinal O’Malley highlighted that the Commission will look into and develop the pastoral care for victims and their families, spiritual assistance, mental health services, and collaboration with experts in the research and development of the prevention of abuse of minors, psychology, sociology, legal sciences.
Today was the final day of meetings for the council. It will reconvene from February 19th-21th and will follow the next day with the consistory of the College of Cardinals. (J.A.E.)