· Pontifical Commission concludes its Plenary Assembly ·
The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM) came together in Rome from 5 through 11 September for a week of Working Group meetings and for its Plenary Assembly.
Working Group meetings focused on updating current projects and developing draft
proposals for the Holy Father. The meetings focused on guidelines in the safeguarding and protection of children, adolescents and vulnerable adults; a Day of Prayer for the victims of clerical child sexual abuse; education programmes, both at the local level and in the Vatican; and the PCPM's website which is expected to go live in the coming months.
The Holy See Press Office issued a press release on Monday, 12 September, announcing that a template for guidelines will be presented to Pope Francis for his consideration. With regard to ongoing educational programmes, Commission members indicated that conferences and workshops have been held on all continents and in Rome, where the members participated in meetings with the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy and with the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. During the week there were also formative courses for new bishops sponsored by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, a meeting of the Congregation for Clergy, and a formative course for new prelates organized by the Congregation for Bishops.
An important proposal was made – by a survivor of clerical child sexual abuse – for the institution of a Day of Prayer. As the Pontifical Commission believes that prayer is one part of the healing process for survivors and is also an important way of consciousness-raising in the
Church, the Holy Father has requested that National Bishops Conferences choose an appropriate day
on which to pray for the survivors and victims of sexual abuse as part of a Universal Day of Prayer
initiative. Many Bishops Conferences have already taken steps to enact the proposal. In Australia, for example, the Church throughout the country marked the Day of Prayer on Sunday, 11 September, in conjunction with their National Day for Child Protection. The Bishops of the Philippines have already begun to discuss how best to implement the Day of Prayer and will soon announce a date. The Southern African Bishops Conferences (SACBC) have embraced the proposal by dedicating
three days to the initiative, from Friday to Sunday, 2 to 4 December. Friday will be observed as a day of fasting, there will be a penitential vigil on Saturday and on Sunday, the second Sunday of Advent, a statement prepared by the SACBC, will be read out in all parishes. For this purpose, the PCPM has prepared resources and materials for the Universal Day of Prayer, which are available on request.
During the work of the meetings the Holy Father’s motu proprio “As a Loving Mother” was discussed. The letter, issued in June, reinforces the Church's commitment to protection of the most vulnerable.
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