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Meeting Of The Pontifical Commission For The Protection Of Minors And The Pope's Encounter With Victims Of Abuse By Members Of The Clergy

Vatican City, 7 July 2014 (VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office, the director, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., gave a briefing on the meeting of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and the Pope's encounter with the victims of abuse, which took place on 6 and 7 July.

“On Sunday 6 July, all members of the Commission met at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, coordinated by Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, O.F.M. Cap., with the collaboration of Msgr. Robert Oliver at an organisational level”, said Fr. Lombardi, who added that the issues under consideration were: “proposals for the selection and appointment of new members, to integrate the Commission with representatives from other geographical areas; the statutes of the Commission; the need to institute an operative Office; the possibility of organising working groups on specific themes with the collaboration of specialists and other institutions”. He added that time had also been dedicated to the preparation of the Holy Father’s meeting with a number of victims, scheduled for the following morning, 7 July.

The next meeting is scheduled to take place during the month of October. It is hoped that new members of the Commission will be present.

He went on the refer to the meeting of the Pope on the morning of Monday, 7 July with various victims of sexual abuse by members of the clergy. “The invitees were six adults, three men and three women, from Germany, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. Each victim was accompanied by a family member or other companion. The invitation to meet the Pope had been made by Cardinal O’Malley in several countries where there exists a Church structure regarding the victims of sexual abuse”.

“The invitees arrived at the Domus Sanctae Marthae by the afternoon of Sunday 6 July. While they were dining in the refectory, the Holy Father appeared to address a first brief greeting to them. The Pope first offered them a Mass, celebrated in the Sanctae Marthae chapel at 7 a.m., attended also by the companions, members of the Commission and a limited number of other collaborators. The formula of the Mass was for peace and justice.

During Mass, the Pope pronounced a homily for them in Spanish; each participant was given a translation of the text in his or her own language. After Mass, the Pope greeted the individuals present, as usual”.

“After breakfast, the Pope received the individual visitors, with their companions, for a private personal discussion in a room in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, one after the other.

The discussions lasted from 9 a.m. to around 12.20 p.m. The participants, after the discussions, expressed their emotion and their satisfaction at having been listened to by the Pope with such attention and willingness”. The director of the Holy See Press Office concluded, “the Pope showed that listening helps to understand and prepare the way to reinstate trust, heal wounds, and to open up the possibility of reconciliation with God and with the Church”.

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