The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors has issued an appeal for the safeguarding of children to be at the forefront of discussions during the upcoming Synod on Synodality, scheduled for October at the Vatican.
According to Vatican News, the Commission urged Synod participants to prioritize child protection in its statement titled ‘A Call to Action on the Occasion of the Consistory for the Creation of New Cardinals and the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops’.
Pope Francis, a fervent advocate for safeguarding minors within the Catholic Church, has encouraged the Commission to speak boldly and without external interference in this critical matter.
The Commission’s statement, available in both English and Italian, underscored the importance of standing in solidarity with victims and survivors in light of ongoing revelations of abuse within the Church.
It called upon Church leaders to bolster their commitment and allocate additional resources to promote safeguarding practices globally, with a specific request that child protection be a central theme during Synod deliberations.
“We beseech that sexual abuse within the Church be a focal point of your discussions, encompassing teaching, ministry, formation, and governance,” the Commission’s statement asserted.
It emphasized the urgent need for the Church to comprehensively address this grave issue to maintain its credibility in preaching the Gospel.
The Commission encouraged Synod participants to dedicate significant time and space to incorporate the testimonies of victims and survivors into their work.
It acknowledged that many Synod attendees have firsthand experience with confronting or addressing sexual abuse within the Church, which can inform their discussions.
The Commission urged participants to commit to these long-overdue objectives throughout the entire Synod process.
It viewed the achievement of these goals as a clear indicator of the Synod’s success and a signal that the Church is genuinely committed to supporting and reconciling those affected by abuse.
Pope Francis has consistently and resolutely voiced the imperative of combatting child abuse within the Church during his pontificate.
He has issued substantial legislation aimed at holding both abusers and those complicit in covering up abuse accountable.
In 2019, he convened the first Summit for the Protection of Minors, convening the Presidents of the world’s Bishops’ Conferences to address this grave issue.
In a recent address to the Latin American Research and Training Commission for the Protection of Minors (CEPROME), Pope Francis acknowledged the progress made in addressing child sexual abuse but emphasized the ongoing need for action to protect vulnerable individuals.
As the Synod on Synodality draws near, the call from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors serves as a poignant reminder of the crucial imperative to address child protection issues within the Catholic Church and signifies an unwavering commitment to healing and reconciliation for all those impacted by abuse.