Pope Francis has said he may place a new Vatican commission on protecting minors under the responsibility of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Speaking to members of the congregation at the Vatican today at the end of their plenary session, the Holy Father thanked the officials for their efforts in dealing with “sensitive issues regarding the most serious crimes, in particular, the cases of the sexual abuse of minors by clerics.”
“Think of the welfare of children and the young, who in the Christian community must always be protected and supported in their human and spiritual growth,” he said. “In this sense, the possibility is being looked into of connecting the specific Commission for the Protection of Minors, which I have established, to your dicastery. I hope it will be an example for all those who wish to promote the welfare of children.”
In a wide ranging address, the Pope said that to promote and safeguard the doctrine on faith and morals in the whole Catholic world is the duty that John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution “Pastor bonus” assigns to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
He emphasized that, “from the earliest days of the Church, there has been a temptation to understand doctrine in an ideological sense or to reduce it to a set of abstract and fossilized theories.” But he said that in fact doctrine has the sole purpose of “serving the life of the People of God and seeks to ensure a firm foundation to our faith.”
“Great indeed is the temptation to commandeer the gifts of salvation that come from God, to acclimate them—maybe even with the best intention—to the world’s viewpoints and spirit,” he said.
The task of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith should “also always seek to keep in mind the needs of constructive, respectful, and patient dialogue with the authors,” he said. “If truth demands precision, this always grows in charity and fraternal assistance for those called to deepen or clarify their beliefs.”
Likewise, the Pope noted that the Congregation’s method of working is distinguished “by its practice of collegiality and dialogue. Effectively, the Church is a place of communion and, at all levels, each of us is called to cultivate and promote communion, each one with the responsibility assigned to us by the Lord.”
Recalling that their plenary session that was dedicated to the relationship between faith and marriage, he said “it is a reflection of great importance.”
“It arises in the wake of the invitation already formulated by Benedict XVI regarding the need to question more deeply the relationship between personal faith and the celebration of the sacrament of marriage, especially in the changed cultural context,” he said.