The pope asks for an annual report on the state of abuse in the Church

The pope asked today that the Commission for the Protection of Minors prepare each year and deliver a report on the Church’s initiatives to prevent abuseabout what is happening and what needs to change so that the relevant authorities can take action.

This is what Francis said today when he received the members of the Commission for the Protection of Minors, which he himself instituted in 2014 and which is holding its plenary assembly these days, an organization that will acquire greater weight by being included in the Dicastery for Doctrine of the Faith, according to the new Apostolic Constitution “Praedicate Evangelium”, which reorganizes the Curia and which will enter into force on June 5.

Receiving the members of the Commission, chaired by US Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley, the Pope assured that "incidence of child abuse by clergy has been declining for several years in parts of the world where reliable data and resources are available" and commissioned them to prepare a report on it every year.

"This may be difficult at first, but I ask you to start where it is needed so that we can provide a reliable report on what is happening and what needs to change so that the relevant authorities can take action."he urged.

for Francis "this report will be a factor of transparency and accountability" and will serve to show "progress on this commitment".

"If there were no progress, the faithful would continue to lose confidence in their pastors, making it increasingly difficult to announce and witness the Gospel"Francis noted.

He also encouraged this commission to help the Episcopal Conferences to "create special centers where abused people and their families can be welcomed and listened to and accompanied on a path of healing and justice".

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He also stressed that the episcopal conferences "must establish the commissions and all the means to carry out the processes of care for abused peoplewith all the methods they have, and also of the abusers and how to punish them".

"They have to monitor that"the pope told them.

At the beginning of his speech, the pope said that "children and vulnerable people are today safer in the Church also thanks to your commitment"although he also stressed that still "unfortunately there are no shortage of situations in which the dignity of children is threatened, and this should concern all the faithful and all people of good will".

"Abuse, in all its forms, is unacceptable. The sexual abuse of children is particularly serious because it offends life that is flourishing. Instead of blossoming, the abused person is wounded, sometimes even indelibly."Francis noted.

Pope Francis then exhorted the Commission "to work diligently and courageously to make these wounds known, to seek out those who suffer from them, and to seek out those who suffer and recognize in them the testimony of our Savior".

But he added that this is the path of every member of the Church, and that "according to his condition, he is called to assume the responsibility to prevent abuse and work for justice and healing".

Several experts and religious are members of this commission, such as the German Hans Zollner, the auxiliary bishop of Bogotá, Luis Manuel Alí Herrera, or the Chilean Juan Carlos Cruz, one of the three victims of the priest Fernando Karadima and very close to the pontiff.

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