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Rome summit to hear from survivors

International

A special meeting of the presidents of bishops’ conferences in Rome next month, convened by Pope Francis to discuss child sexual abuse, will include a penitential liturgy and testimonies of survivors.

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The Vatican Press Office outlined on Wednesday further details about the Protection of Minors in the Church meeting to be held from February 21 to 24.

The February meeting will see presidents of bishops’ conferences from all over the world coming together for plenary sessions, working groups, common prayer, listening to testimonies, a penitential liturgy and a final Eucharistic celebration.

Pope Francis has assured he will be present for the entire meeting, and has appointed Fr Federico Lombardi SJ as the moderator of the plenary sessions.

The acting director of the Holy See Press Office, Alessandro Gisotti, issued the following communication:

“The February Meeting on the protection of minors has a concrete purpose: the goal is that all of the Bishops clearly understand what they need to do to prevent and combat the worldwide problem of the sexual abuse of minors. 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 characterised by prayer and discernment, a catechetical and working gathering.

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.

Regarding the high expectations that have been created around the meeting, it is important to emphasise that the Church is not at the beginning of the fight against abuse. The meeting is a stage along the painful journey that the Church has unceasingly and decisively undertaken for over 15 years.”

 

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