VATICAN ABUSE SUMMIT ENDS, THE REAL WORK BEGINS – POPE FRANCIS, UAE FOREIGN MINISTER MEET, SHARE LUNCH – POPE ON ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: TECHNOLOGY IS A HUMAN CHARACTERISTIC – MEETING IN VATICAN DISCUSSES FOLLOW-UP TO ABUSE SUMMIT

I did post daily news about the abuse summit on Saturday and Sunday, but only on my Facebook page. There were a few exceptional moments, including press briefings, and I have to say that I personally felt that the three best talks of the four-day summit were from three women, Linda Ghisoni, undersecretary for the Dicastery for Family, Laity and Life, Sr. Veronica Openibo from Nigeria,, superior of the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus and celebrated vaticanista (long before the summit!) Valentina Alazraki who has covered the Vatican for 45 years and been on 150 – yes, 150! – papal flights.

Go to facebook.com/joan.lewis.10420 for their words and stories and my comments. I gave Valentina an Oscar – see why! If you had read or heard her talk online, you’d have personally handed her the Oscar!

Also go there to see the question one journalist asked the final day of briefings about Pope Francis and cover up!

VATICAN ABUSE SUMMIT ENDS, THE REAL WORK BEGINS

The four-day Vatican meeting on the Protection of Minors, called by the Pope to reflect on the “brutality” of the worldwide problem of clerical sex abuse, ended in dramatic fashion with a penitential liturgy on Saturday and Mass on Sunday after which Pope Francis delivered a 3,500 word major address declaring that the Church will lead an all-out battle against abuse.

Earlier, Saturday afternoon in a striking penitential liturgy in the Apostolic Palace’s Sala Regia, there was a collective confession by Pope Francis and Church leaders attending the abuse summit: “We confess that bishops, priests, deacons, and religious in the Church have done violence to children and youth – that we have shielded the guilty – that we have not acknowledged the suffering of many victims – that we bishops did not live up to our responsibilities. … Kyrie eleison. Lord, have mercy.”

Sunday, in his lengthy speech following the summit’s concluding Mass, The Holy Father said, “The meaning behind child sex abuse comes from the present-day manifestation of the spirit of evil,” adding that consecrated persons who commit such crimes become “tools of Satan.” He outlined an 8-point program the Church will undertake to fight abuse.

Abp Mark Coleridge gave the homily at Mass and Pope Francis spoke afterwards

On Sunday at the final press briefing, Fr. Federico Lombardi, conference moderator, announced some concrete initiatives underway in the Vatican, including a new Motu Proprio from the Pope “on the protection of minors and vulnerable persons,” and a Vademecum or manual, to be published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to help bishops around the world clearly understand their duties and tasks.

Also, added Fr. Lombardi, “in a spirit of communion with the universal Church, the Pope has expressed the intention of creating task forces of competent persons to help episcopal conferences and dioceses that find it difficult to confront the problems and produce initiatives for the protection of minors.”

POPE FRANCIS, UAE FOREIGN MINISTER MEET, SHARE LUNCH

The Holy See Press Office interim director announced today that the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness the Sheikh Abdallah Ben Zayed Al Nahyan, was received today in a private manner at the Casa Santa Marta at 12.30 pm by the Holy Father Francis with whom he stayed and conversed for 45 minutes.

Minister Ben Zayed wanted to tell the Pope of the decisions that the government of the United Arab Emirates has undertaken to promote the application of the intentions of the document on “Human Brotherhood for World Peace and common coexistence” signed by the Holy Father and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahamad al-Tayyib (Abu Dhabi, 4 February 2019), some of which have already been implemented and others being implemented.

The delegation gifted the Holy Father a small box containing some stones with inscriptions in Arabic that express messages related to love, tolerance and brotherhood. The Pope gave a copy of an engraving dating from the 17th century that shows the construction work in St. Peter’s Square, and four large photo albums intended for the president and vice president of the United Arab Emirates, containing a selection of the best images of the visit of the Pontiff in the country earlier this month.

At the end of the encounter the Holy Father had lunch together with the minister and the delegation from the UAE.

POPE ON ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: TECHNOLOGY IS A HUMAN CHARACTERISTIC

By Francesca Merlo (vaticannews)

Despite all of the potential that science has, the accumulation of it all does not always obtain the results hoped for, said Pope Francis as he addressed the çPontifical academy for Life that is marking its 25th anniversary, created by Pope John Paul II in 1994.

All that science could offer

We know the problems our world is facing, said the Pope, and one of them is that we seem to be closing in more and more on ourselves. This underlines a “dramatic paradox”: that at the point in which science could offer the equal well-being that God wished for to all people, “we observe an embittering of conflicts and a growth of inequality.”

There are two sides to technology, said Francis. On the one hand, we cannot go without it; on the other hand, it imposes its logic upon us. “Yet, technology is a human characteristic”.

However, what we must understand, added Francis, is that the artificial devices that simulate human capacities, are in fact, lacking in human qualities. These machines cannot take into consideration the phenomena of experience or that of conscience.

Benefits of science on every person

This must be taken into account, the Holy Father told his guests, when imposing the regulations for the use of these machines and in researching them. In order to work towards a constructive interaction between humans and the most recent versions of these machines, which he says, “are radically transforming the scenario of our existence.” The Pope explained that, “if we are able to make use of these references in practice, the extraordinary potential of new discoveries can radiate their benefits on every person and on humanity as a whole.”

Sharing in order to benefit

Pope Francis noted that the task of the Academy for Life is an honorable one in “the ethical alliance in favor of human life.” Now that we are surrounded by more and more sophisticated machinery, and they directly involve human qualities, both physical and of the psyche, the sharing of information between those working in the field becomes more and more important.

He urges the participants at the plenary assembly to take the example of the faithful masters of this technology “who have wisely and boldly entered into the processes of their contemporaneity, with a view to an understanding of the heritage of faith at the height of a reason worthy of humanity”.

MEETING IN VATICAN DISCUSSES FOLLOW-UP TO ABUSE SUMMIT

From interim Holy See Press Office director Alessandro Gisotti:

In the Sala Bologna of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, a restricted interdicasterial meeting was held this morning from 9.00 to 13.00, focusing on the fight against child abuse. This meeting is a first concrete effect of the meeting on “The Protection of Minors in the Church” that ended yesterday. Also at the meeting, together with some superiors of the Secretariat of State and the heads of the dicasteries who are particularly committed to this topic,were members of the organizing committee and the moderator of the meeting, Father Federico Lombardi SJ, who focused on the meeting as it unfolded, initial reactions to the meeting and follow-up.

Above all, and unanimously, accent was placed on how necessary the just ended meeting was, so desired by Pope Francis. It was also highlighted that this event must now be followed by concrete measures as strongly requested by the People of God. In this context, the fundamental principles that inspire the documents and task forces, announced in the final press conference of the meeting, were illustrated. These initiatives, it has been affirmed, will have to be communicated in the clearest, most timely and detailed way possible.

In the interventions of the dicastery heads, who reaffirmed their commitment to follow the example of Pope Francis in the fight against abuse, the accent was placed on the need to listen to the victims as a starting point for this commitment. Other points underlined: the greater involvement of the laity on this front and the need to invest in training and prevention, taking advantage of those realities with a consolidated experience in this field. Lastly, it was highlighted that the progress of the follow-up of the meeting should be verified with interdicasterial meetings in the name of synodality and synergy.

POPE THANKS LINDA GHISONI FOR HER TALK

POPE THANKS LINDA GHISONI FOR HER TALK

In an unusual move, Pope Francis this afternoon spoke in off the cuff remarks after the talk by Dr. Linda Ghisoni, under-secretary of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Faith, the first woman to formally address the meeting, thanking her for her intervention. The Holy See Press Office released his remarks:

“Listening to Dr. Ghisoni I heard the Church talk about herself. That is, we all talked about the Church. In all the interventions. But this time it was the Church herself that spoke. It is not just a question of style: the feminine genius that is reflected in the Church that is a woman.

“To invite a woman to speak is not to enter the mode of an ecclesiastical feminism, because in the end every feminism ends up being a machismo with a skirt. No. Inviting a woman to speak about the wounds of the Church is to invite the Church to speak about herself, about the wounds she has. And this I think is the step that we must do very strongly: the woman is the image of the Church that is a woman, she is a bride, she is a mother. A style. Without this style we would speak of the people of God but as an organization, perhaps a trade union, but not as a family born of the Mother Church.

“The logic of Dr. Ghisoni’s thought was just that of a mother, and ended with the story of what happens when a woman gives birth to a child. It is the female mystery of the Church that is bride and mother. It is not about giving more functions to the woman in the Church – yes, this is good, but this does not solve the problem – it is about integrating woman as a figure of the Church in our thinking. And thinking also of the Church with the categories of a woman. Thank you for your testimony.”

(JFL: For what it’s worth, from the applause I have heard at the end of the various speeches, an applause meter might have declared her the winner)

VATICAN INSIDER, A SPECIAL ON THE SUMMIT FOR PROTECTION OF MINORS – DAY TWO: CARDINAL GRACIAS: COLLEGIAL CHURCH STANDS FOR JUSTICE, HEALING – CARDINAL CUPICH: “SYNODALITY, JOINTLY RESPONSIBLE” – LINDA GHISONI, UNDERSECRETARY FOR LAITY, FAMILY AND LIFE: COMMUNION: ACT TOGETHER

VATICAN INSIDER, A SPECIAL ON THE SUMMIT FOR PROTECTION OF MINORS

The news segment this week of Vatican Insider will be unusually brief because the special I have prepared in what is normally the interview segment is unusually long. I am taking a look at the four-day meeting in the Vatican that began on Thursday February 21 and is dealing with the scandal of clerical sex abuse, in particular focussing on the protection of minors. I look at the background, the composition of the organizing committee, the speakers and topics scheduled for each day, the Holy Father’s reason for choosing to have such an event and a look at what the Church, the Pope, and the summit attendees hope to achieve.

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on http://www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

DAY TWO: CARDINAL GRACIAS: COLLEGIAL CHURCH STANDS FOR JUSTICE, HEALING

Accountability was the main theme of the second day of the protecting minors conference. Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay (Mumbai) was the first to speak in the morning. His talk was entitled “Accountability in a Collegial and Synodal Church.”

He began by saying, “Sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and the subsequent failure to address it in an open, accountable, and effective way has caused a multifaceted crisis that has gripped and wounded the Church, not to speak of those who have been abused. Although the experience of abuse seems dramatically present in certain parts of the world, it is not a limited phenomenon. Indeed, the entire Church must take an honest look, undertake rigorous discernment, and then act decisively to prevent abuse from occurring in the future and to do whatever possible to foster healing for victims.
Finally, he said, we must “be willing to pay the price of following God’s will in uncertain and painful circumstances.”

The cardinal went on: “No bishop should say to himself, “I face these problems and challenges alone.” Because we belong to the college of bishops in union with the Holy Father, we all share accountability and responsibility. Collegiality is an essential context for addressing wounds of abuse inflicted on victims and on the Church at large. We bishops need to return to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council often, in order to find ourselves in the larger mission and ministry of the Church.”

He asked for the clarification of several points in order to make progress:

· For me, this raises the question: do we really engage in an open conversation and point out honestly to our brother bishops or priests when we notice problematic behaviour in them? We should cultivate a culture of correctio fraterna, which enables this without offending each other, and at the same time recognise criticism from a brother as an opportunity to better fulfil our tasks.
· Closely related to this point is willingness to personally admit mistakes to each other, and to ask for help, without feeling the need to maintain the pretence of own perfection
· For a bishop, the relationship with the Holy Father is of constitutive significance. Every bishop is obliged to directly obey and follow the Holy Father. We should ask ourselves honestly, whether on this basis we don’t sometimes think that our relationship with the other bishops is not so important, especially if the brothers have a different opinion, and/or if they feel the need to correct us.
· If in such contexts we ourselves always refer back to Rome, we shouldn’t wonder if a certain Roman centralism does not sufficiently take into account the diversity in our brotherhood, and our local church competencies and our skills as responsible shepherds of our local churches are not appropriately used, and thereby the practically lived collegiality suffers.

Under what he called “The Challenge of sexual abuse in the Church,“ Cardinal Gracias spoke of justice and healing and said, relative to healing: “For effective healing to happen, there must be clear, transparent, and consistent communication from a collegial Church to victims, members of the Church, and society at large. In that communication, the Church offers several messages.”

Those messages are, he explained, “a respectful outreach and an honest acknowledgement of their pain and hurt,” “an offer to heal,” “to identify and implement measures to protect young and vulnerable people from future abuse,” and fourthly, “to society at large.”

On the fourth point he said: “Our Holy Father has wisely and correctly said that abuse is a human problem. It is not, of course, limited to the Church. In fact, it is a pervasive and sad reality across all sectors of life. Out of this particularly challenging moment in the life of the Church, we – again in a collegial context -can draw on and develop resources which can be of great service to a larger world. The grace of this moment can actually be our ability to serve a great need in the world from our experience in the Church.”

For Cardinal Gracias’ full address http://www.pbc2019.org

CARDINAL CUPICH: “SYNODALITY, JOINTLY RESPONSIBLE”

Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, was the second speaker of the second day of the protection of minors meeting.

He opened his talk by saying, “From what we just heard from Cardinal Gracias, we are to understand our gathering in these days as an exercise in collegiality. We are here, as the universal episcopate in affective and substantive union with the successor of Peter, to discern through spirited dialogue where our ministry as successors of the apostles calls us to confront effectively the scandal of clergy sexual abuse that has wounded so many little ones.

“While we share a unique responsibility in this regard as the college of bishops, it is also imperative that we consider the challenge we face in the light of synodality, especially as we explore with the entire Church the structural, legal and institutional aspects of accountability.”

The cardinal explained that, “For a Church seeking to be a loving mother in the face of clergy sexual abuse, four orientations, rooted in synodality, must shape every structural, legal and institutional reform designed to meet the enormous challenge which the reality of sexual abuse by clergy represents at this moment.”

Those orientations are: radical listening, lay witness, collegiality and accountability.

Cardinal Cupich then outlined what he called a framework for institutional and legal structured for accountability, stating, “The task before us is to focus these principles upon the design of specific institutional and legal structures for the purpose of creating genuine accountability in cases related to the misconduct of bishops and religious superiors, and their mishandling of cases of child abuse.”

The archbishop of Chicago mentioned, “We already, of course, have a guide in the Apostolic Letter Come una madre amorevole, which sets forth procedures that address, among other things, bishops who mishandle abuse cases.”

Looking at the task ahead for the Church and the world’s bishops, the cardinal grouped his remarks under three headings: 1. Setting Standards for Investigation of Bishops, 2. Reporting Allegations and 3. Concrete Procedural Steps.

At this point he made references to mechanisms already in place for reporting allegations of abuse or mishandling of abuse against a bishop, explaining the path normally taken for such reports.

Cardinal Cupich then listed 12 principles that he said should find their way into any proposed legislation in this area.

In conclusion, he said: “We must move to establish robust laws and structures regarding the accountability of bishops precisely to supply with a new soul the institutional reality of the Church’s discipline on sexual abuse.”

For Cardinal Cupich’s full presentation http://www.pbc2019.org

LINDA GHISONI, UNDERSECRETARY FOR LAITY, FAMILY AND LIFE: COMMUNION: ACT TOGETHER

The first woman to give an address to the Meeting for the Protection of Minors, Dr. Linda Ghisoni talked about the importance of all aspects of the Church working together to confront the worldwide crisis of the sexual abuse of children. She is the Undersecretary for the Laity at the Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life.

Speaking on the subject of accountability – the theme for the second day of the meeting for the protection of minors – Ghisoni highlighted the aspect of communion vis-a-vis accountability.

With respect to Religious Superiors and Bishops, she said it was important, “to foresee an ordinary procedure of verification that should not be misunderstood as a lack of trust towards the Superior or the Bishop. Rather to be considered as an aid that allows him to focus, first at himself and at the best moment, that is when all the elements are clear and concurrent, the reason for a certain action taken or omitted.

“To say that the Bishop must always give a report of his work to someone does not mean subjecting him to a control or putting him in a priori distrust, but engaging him in the dynamics of ecclesial communion where all the members act in a coordinated way, according to their own charisms and ministries.

“If a priest gives report to the community, to the priests and to his Bishop for his work, to whom does a bishop give a report? What accountability is he subject to?

“Identifying an objective method of accountability not only does not weaken his authority, but values him as shepherd of a flock, in his own function that is not separated from the people for whom he is called to give life. It may also happen, as for each of us, that from “giving report” springs awareness of an error, it becomes obvious that the path taken was wrong, perhaps because at that moment one thought – wrongly – of acting for the good. This will not constitute a judgment from which to defend oneself in order to recover credit, a stain on one’s own honourability, a threat to one’s own ordinary and immediate power.

“On the contrary, this will be the witness of a journey made together, which alone can find the discernment of truth, justice and charity. The logic of communion does not stand an accusation and a defence, but working together (“con-correre” precisely, only in communion) for the good of all. Accountability is therefore a form, today even more necessary, in this logic of communion.”

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.

ORGANIZING COMMITTEE MEETS VICTIMS OF CLERICAL SEX ABUSE – ABUSE SURVIVOR SPEAKS OF MEETING WITH SUMMIT ORGANIZERS

ORGANIZING COMMITTEE MEETS VICTIMS OF CLERICAL SEX ABUSE

Alessandro Gisotti, interim director of the Holy See Press Office stated this afternoon that, “as was announced during the course of the press conference on February 18 in the Holy See Press Office, this morning the Organizing Committee for the Meeting on ‘The Protection of Minors in the Church’ met a group of representatives of victims of sexual abuse by members of the clergy.

“There were 12 people, men and women, from different parts of the world who belong to various organizations. The meeting lasted a little bit more than two hours. The members of the Committee are very grateful to the victims who participated for their sincerity, the depth and the strength of their testimonies, which will certainly help them to always better understand the gravity and urgency of the difficulties that they will confront during the course of the meeting.”

ABUSE SURVIVOR SPEAKS OF MEETING WITH SUMMIT ORGANIZERS

February 19, 2019 CNA/EWTN News).- Juan Carlos Cruz, a clerical sex abuse whistleblower and a victim of Fr. Fernando Karadima, will meet with bishops and with fellow victims of clergy sexual abuse Wednesday, one day before the start of a Vatican summit on the topic.

“I am very proud that I am entrusted with such a task,” Cruz said, according to Chilean newspaper La Tercera.

The summit is a result of months of revelations of clerical sex abuse scandal in the United States and other countries. One of the most high-profile cases in the United States involved Theodore McCarrick, former cardinal and archbishop emeritus of Washington, who was publicly accused last year of sexually abusing at least two adolescent boys, and of engaging for decades in coercive sexual behavior toward priests and seminarians.
McCarrick was laicized by Pope Francis last weekend, just days before the summit.

Scicluna’s trip resulted in a 2,300-page report, the laicization of multiple priests and bishops, the en masse proffering of all Chilean bishops’ resignation, and a major “mea culpa” from Pope Francis, who had originally expressed doubts about the allegations against Chilean Bishop Juan Barros.

Pope Francis met privately last May with Cruz and fellow whistleblowers and abuse survivors James Hamilton and Jose Andres Murillo. The pope expressed his apologies and sorrow for having been “part of the problem” and resolved to do better on abuse.

Cruz told La Tercera that the meeting will be “very important for the Catholic world, for many people. This is a meeting where many people in the world should give their testimony, which is impossible because of the volume.”

Instead, Cruz said, there will be a group of 12 people to give voice to this issue and to impress its seriousness on the leaders of the Church.

“I sincerely hope that the Church will take it for what it is, something very serious…it deserves zero tolerance once and for all,” he added. “These people [the abusers] cannot hide in the institution anymore.”

Cruz also expressed doubts about Bishop Luis Fernando Ramos Perez, Auxiliary Bishop of Santiago and president of the Chilean bishops’ conference, who is representing Chile at the meeting.
Cruz told La Tercera that Bishop Ramos “has no empathy with the Chilean victims and I do not know what his contribution can be in this important meeting.”

There will be 190 participants in the Vatican summit, most of whom are presidents of national bishops’ conferences.