The Vatican has confirmed today that the meeting of the Episcopal Conferences of the Catholic world that will be held in February will include victims of clergy abuse, a motion asked by the Pennsylvania organizations in charge of the problem.
Alessandro Gisotti, interim spokesman of the Vatican, said at a press conference that one of the key objectives of the unprecedented meeting is that “the Bishops clearly understand what they need to do to prevent and combat the worldwide problem of the sexual abuse of minors”.
“it is fundamental for the Holy Father that when the Bishops who will come to Rome have returned to their countries and their dioceses that they understand the laws to be applied and that they take the necessary steps to prevent abuse, to care for the victims, and to make sure that no case is covered up or buried”, said Gisotti.
In the history of the Church this type of convocation had never been done, but in the Councils. It is important to emphasize that in addition to the representatives of the 130 episcopal conferences, victims of clergy abuse will also participate.
They will participate in plenary sessions, working groups and common prayer, and above all in listening to testimonies.
The convention will include the Representatives of the Eastern Catholic Churches, dicasteries, Superiors General Unions, both female and male and members of the Commission for the Protection of Minors, among others.
The Vatican has been emphatic in stating that the Pope will participate in all the meeting sessions.
The congregation to which the presidents of the episcopal conferences from all over the world have been summoned will take place in the Vatican from February 21 to 24.
The representative of the Supreme Pontiff said that “Pope Francis knows that a global problem can only be resolved with a global response. The Pope wants it to be an assembly of Pastors, not an academic conference – a meeting characterized by prayer and discernment, a catechetical and working gathering”.
Regarding “the high expectations that have been created around the Meeting”, Gisotti reminded the press that “the Church is not at the beginning of the fight against abuse” because. “The Meeting is a stage along the painful journey that the Church has unceasingly and decisively undertaken for over fifteen years”.
Some details of the program specify that on Saturday 23 there will be a penitential liturgy and on Sunday the 24th a closing mass of the meeting.
From an editorial framework, it was learned that Pope Francis met today with the organizing committee, made up of the Chicago Cardinal Blase J.
Cupich(USA), and of Bombay, Cardinal Oswald Gracias – two personalities that have been characterized by their battle against abuses-; the recently appointed Adjunct Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Maltese Charles Scicluna, and the president of the Centre for Child Protection of the Pontifical Gregorian University and member of the Commission for the Safeguarding of Minors, Hans Zollner.
Translated by: José Espinoza