Papal commission steps up work to educate church about abuse

By Carol Glatz

CITY (CNS) — Members of the pope’s commission for child protection, including
an abuse survivor, have been speaking with new bishops and major Vatican
offices as part of a mandate to develop and educate the church about best

Francis also approved the establishment of a day of prayer for survivors of
abuse, but decided it will be up to each nation’s bishops’ conference to decide
when the memorial should be held, according a press release Sept. 12 from the
Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

of the pontifical commission have spoken recently with officials at the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies
of Apostolic Life, as well as at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, which
trains priests for service in the Vatican’s diplomatic corps.

commission members, who were in Rome in early September, were also set to
address the Congregation for Clergy and to speak at seminars for recently
appointed bishops; the training seminars are organized by the Congregation for
Bishops and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

Collins, a commission member and survivor of clerical abuse, was scheduled to
be one of a number of commission members to address the Sept. 11-18 session of
what is commonly referred to as “new bishops school.”

Father Hans Zollner, a psychologist and commission member, and Archbishop
Charles J. Scicluna of Malta, a longtime abuse investigator, already delivered
their talks on abuse by clergy and the importance of protecting minors and
vulnerable adults during the early September seminar for bishops newly elected
to dioceses in mission lands.

commission has completed a template meant to help all church entities — from
bishops’ conferences to Catholic associations — in formulating guidelines in
preventing and responding appropriately to abuse.

Francis was set to receive the template “shortly,” according to the
commission press release.

the request of a clerical abuse survivor from Canada, the commission developed
a proposal for a universal Day of Prayer because “prayer is one part of
the healing process for survivors and the community of believers” and
public gatherings for prayer also help raise awareness about the issue, it

Francis received the proposal and has asked “that national bishops’
conferences choose an appropriate day on which to pray for the survivors and
victims of sexual abuse as part of a Universal Day of Prayer initiative,”
it said.

reason a universal date was not set is because a number of bishops’ conference
around the world already have specific days set aside for penance and prayer
for victims and their healing, Father Zollner told Catholic News Service.

example, the church in Australia adopted the nation’s own Day for Child
Protection — Sept. 11 — to mark its Day of Prayer.

Southern African Bishops’ Conferences will dedicate Dec. 2-4 — days which fall
during Advent this year — to penance, fasting and prayer, the press release

commission said it has resources like prayers for Mass, liturgical texts and
other materials available on request as part of the Day of Prayer initiative.

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