In a message to religious leaders, academics and lay experts from various fields participating in the International Symposium “Faith and Blossoming: Strategies to Prevent and Cure Child Sexual Abuse”, Pope Francis expressed his support and hope for the eradication of what he described as a “profound evil”.
The three-day symposium is an unprecedented virtual event, hosted by Harvard University in the United States, organized in partnership with the Pontifical Commission for the Guardianship of Minors, an institution of the Roman Curia established by the Pope in 2014, and the Catholic University of America.
The pope’s message was read by Michael Hoffman, a child sexual abuse survivor by a member of the clergy and chairman of the Hope and Healing Committee of the Archdiocese of Chicago, USA.
To the event participants, the Holy Father expressed his confidence that “by bringing together religious leaders, scholars and experts from various fields to share research, clinical and pastoral experiences and best practices, the symposium will contribute to a greater awareness of the seriousness and extent of the abuse. child sexual abuse and to promote more effective cooperation at all levels of society in the eradication of this profound evil “, he said.
The Pontiff also reinforced his “gratitude for the continued efforts made to ensure the well-being of all children of God and restore dignity and hope to survivors of abuse”, and sent his prayers and wishes of thanks to all members of the Church Catholic “who are working so diligently to address the issue of child sexual abuse in the institution and the community at large”.
Event organizers, academics, public health and mental health professionals, child abuse prevention experts and spiritual leaders from diverse religious traditions, want to establish April 8 as “World Abuse Prevention, Healing and Justice Day” Child Sexual “.
The proposal will be presented at the United Nations (UN) in September this year.
Fight against abuse
In 2019, Pope Francis held a Summit Meeting, in the Vatican, on guardianship of minors, from which the Motu proprio “Vos estis lux mundi” (“You are the light of the world”, in free translation) was born, which obliges clergy and religious to report cases of abuse. The document determined that each diocese has a system that is easily accessible to the public to receive complaints. In December of the same year, Francis abolished the Pontifical Secret for cases of sexual violence and child abuse committed by members of the world episcopate.