WWW.PBC2019.ORG – DAY ONE

WWW.PBC2019.ORG – DAY ONE

https://www.pbc2019.org/conference/presentations

Posted here are the various talks given today at the Protection of Minors meeting. Each talk is presented in the original and several translations.

If you really want to shudder or read something that will bring tears to your eyes or perhaps leave you breathless with incredulity, click on “pre-recorded testimonies” (EN for English)

FYI – a piece by CNA in Angelus News about abuse victims and their stories in Rome: https://angelusnews.com/news/courtney-grogan/victims-from-africa-asia-at-vatican-to-call-for-zero-tolerance-of-abuse-cover-up

PETER DAMIAN: SAINT, DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH AND FIGHTER AGAINST CLERICAL ABUSE

PETER DAMIAN: SAINT, DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH AND FIGHTER AGAINST CLERICAL ABUSE

As I was reading my copy of “Magnificat” this morning, I was stunned to learn that today, February 21 is the feast of St. Peter Damian, a prelate who, half a millennia ago, worked tirelessly to reform the Church, in particular to rid the Church of clerical sex abuse!

And today – intended or not by the Vatican – is the start of the 4-day meeting on the Protection of Minors against clerical sex abuse!

“Magnificat” had this to say about Peter Damian:

“As a young professor, Peter Damian joined the followers of St. Romuald at the foundation of Monte Avellino, distinguishing himself by his austerities and his ardent love of the cross. In 1057 Peter left the silence of the hermitage to serve as cardinal bishop of Ostia. He tirelessly countered clerical abuses. His diverse writings extolled the primacy of the spiritual over the secular. Pope Benedict said of St Peter Damian, doctor of the Church: “He spent himself with lucid consistency and great severity for the reform of the Church of his time.”

St. Peter Damian was, in fact, a reforming Benedictine monk and cardinal in the circle of Pope Leo IX who died in 1072. He was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1828. His feast day is 21 February.

As one biography notes: Although living in the seclusion of the cloister, Peter Damian closely watched the fortunes of the Church, and like his friend Hildebrand, the future Pope Gregory VII, he strove for reforms in a deplorable time. When Benedict IX resigned the pontificate into the hands of the archpriest John Gratian (Gregory VI) in 1045, Peter hailed the change with joy and wrote to the new pope, urging him to deal with the scandals of the church in Italy, singling out the wicked bishops of Pesaro, of Città di Castello and of Fano.

About 1050, during the pontificate of Pope Leo IX, he wrote a scathing treatise on the vices of the clergy, including sexual abuse of minors and actions by church superiors to hide the crimes. “Liber Gomorrhianus” was openly addressed to the pope. (CWR image)

And half a millennia later, reformers are alive and well and trying to root out what Damian called “the filth, the rot” that was in the Church.

POPE FRANCIS LAYS OUT 21 GUIDELINES FOR PROTECTING MINORS

POPE FRANCIS LAYS OUT 21 GUIDELINES FOR PROTECTING MINORS

In his brief remarks in the opening morning of the Vatican’s Meeting for the Protection of Minors, Pope Francis laid out 21 reflection points, suggested guidelines to be used by all present at the current meeting and in eventual follow-up in dioceses for the worldwide protection of minors. Francis noted that these guidelines came from Episcopal conferences: “They are a simple point of departure that came from you and now return to you.” (Vatican media photo)

Following is his talk:

Dear Brothers, good morning! In light of the scourge of sexual abuse perpetrated by ecclesiastics to the great harm of minors, I wanted to consult you, Patriarchs, Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, and Religious Superiors and Leaders, so that together we might listen to the Holy Spirit and, in docility to his guidance, hear the cry of the little ones who plead for justice.

In this meeting, we sense the weight of the pastoral and ecclesial responsibility that obliges us to discuss together, in a synodal, frank and in-depth manner, how to confront this evil afflicting the Church and humanity. The holy People of God look to us, and expect from us not simple and predictable condemnations, but concrete and effective measures to be undertaken. We need to be concrete. So we begin this process armed with faith and a spirit of great parrhesia, courage and concreteness.

As a help, I would share with you some important criteria formulated by the various Episcopal Commissions and Conferences – they came from you and I have organized them somewhat. They are guidelines to assist in our reflection, and they will now be distributed to you. They are a simple point of departure that came from you and now return to you. They are not meant to detract from the creativity needed in this meeting.

In your name, I would also like to thank the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the members of the Organizing Committee for their outstanding and dedicated work in preparing for this meeting. Many thanks! Finally, I ask the Holy Spirit to sustain us throughout these days, and to help us to turn this evil into an opportunity for awareness and purification. May the Virgin Mary enlighten us as we seek to heal the grave wounds that the scandal of paedophilia has caused, both in the little ones and in believers. Thank you.

REFLECTION POINTS

1. To prepare a practical handbook indicating the steps to be taken by authorities at key moments when a case emerges.

2. To equip oneself with listening structures that include trained and expert people who can initially discern the cases of the alleged victims.

3. Establish the criteria for the direct involvement of the Bishop or of the Religious Superior.

4. Implement shared procedures for the examination of the charges, the protection of the victims and the right of defense of the accused.

5. Inform the civil authorities and the higher ecclesiastical authorities in compliance with civil and canonical norms.

6. Make a periodic review of protocols and norms to safeguard a protected environment for minors in all pastoral structures: protocols and norms based on the integrated principles of justice and charity so that the action of the Church in this matter is in conformity with her mission.

7. Establish specific protocols for handling accusations against Bishops.

8. Accompany, protect and treat victims, offering them all the necessary support for a complete recovery.

9. Increase awareness of the causes and consequences of sexual abuse through ongoing formation initiatives of Bishops, Religious Superiors, clerics and pastoral workers.

10. Prepare pathways of pastoral care for communities injured by abuses and penitential and recovery routes for the perpetrators.

11. To consolidate the collaboration with all people of good will and with the operators of mass media in order to recognize and discern real cases from false ones and accusations of slander, avoiding rancor and insinuations, rumors and defamation (cf. Pope Francis’ address to the Roman Curia, 21 December 2018).

12. To raise the minimum age for marriage to sixteen years.***

13. Establish provisions that regulate and facilitate the participation of lay experts in investigations and in the different degrees of judgment of canonical processes concerning sexual and / or power abuse.

14. The right to defense: the principle of natural and canon law of presumption of innocence must also be safeguarded until the guilt of the accused is proven. Therefore, it is necessary to prevent the lists of the accused being published, even by the dioceses, before the preliminary investigation and the definitive condemnation.

15. Observe the traditional principle of proportionality of punishment with respect to the crime committed. To decide that priests and bishops guilty of sexual abuse of minors leave the public ministry.

16. Introduce rules concerning seminarians and candidates for the priesthood or religious life. Be sure that there are programs of initial and ongoing formation to help them develop their human, spiritual and psychosexual maturity, as well as their interpersonal relationships and their behavior.

17. Be sure to have psychological evaluations by qualified and accredited experts for candidates for the priesthood and consecrated life.

18. Establish norms governing the transfer of a seminarian or religious aspirant from one seminary to another; as well as a priest or religious from one diocese or congregation to another.

19. Formulate mandatory codes of conduct for all clerics, religious, service personnel and volunteers to outline appropriate boundaries in personal relationships. Be specific about the necessary requirements for staff and volunteers and check their criminal record.

20. Explain all information and data on the dangers of abuse and its effects, how to recognize signs of abuse and how to report suspected sexual abuse. All this must take place in collaboration with parents, teachers, professionals and civil authorities.

21. Where it has not yet been in place, establish a group easily accessible for victims who want to report any crimes. Such an organization should have a certain autonomy with respect to the local ecclesiastical authority and include expert persons (clerics and laity) who know how to express the Church’s attention to those who have been offended by improper attitudes on the part of clerics.

*** On this point, Abp. Scicluna noted in the afternoon press briefing that universal Canon law now has the minimum age for marriage for girls at 14 and for boys at 16. He said the Pope wishes the age to be uniformly 16 for both boys and girls, adding that national Episcopal conferences have had the power to change the minimum age, given circumstances and the cultures in their countries.