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Prevent children from becoming victims of any psychological and physical abuse

28/02/2019: General House

“I make a heartfelt appeal for an all-out battle against the abuse of minors both sexually and in other areas, on the part of all authorities and individuals, for we are dealing with abominable crimes that must be erased from the face of the earth: this is demanded by all the many victims hidden in families and in the various settings of our societies”. That was the call of Pope Francis, in his speech at the end of the Eucharistic celebration, during the meeting on the Protection of minors in the church held at the Vatican from 21 to 24 February 2019.

“Brothers and Sisters: in people’s justified anger, the Church sees the reflection of the wrath of God, betrayed and insulted by these deceitful consecrated persons”, exclaimed the Pope, on Sunday, February 24, last day of the meeting, that was attended by 190 participants, among them the Superior General, Br. Ernesto Sánchez, member of the executive of the  Union of Superior Generals of Men Religious (USG)  and Br Emili Turú, current General Secretary of this body.

Pope Francis affirmed that “The time has come, then, to work together to eradicate this evil from the body of our humanity by adopting every necessary measure already in force on the international level and ecclesial levels”, And in that sense affirmed that  “the Church will spare no effort to do all that is necessary to bring to justice whosoever has committed such crimes”.

In this context, he stressed the need “to protect the little ones and prevent them from falling victim to any form of psychological and physical abuse”. In addition, he reiterated that “the Church thus restates her firm resolve to pursue unstintingly a path of purification, questioning how best to protect children, to avoid these tragedies, to bring healing and restoration to the victims, and to improve the training imparted in seminaries, requiring criteria for the selection and training of candidates to the priesthood”. And likewise, “Accompaniment of those who have been abused, reaffirming the need for bishops to be united in the application of parameters that serve as rules and not simply indications. Rules, not simply indications.”.

During his speech, the Vicar of Christ said that “The Church’s aim will thus be to hear, watch over, protect and care for abused, exploited and forgotten children, wherever they are. To achieve that goal, the Church must rise above the ideological disputes and journalistic practices that often exploit, for various interests, the very tragedy experienced by the little ones”.

At the conclusion of his speech, the Pontiff thanked “to all those priests and consecrated persons who serve the Lord faithfully and totally, and who feel themselves dishonoured and discredited by the shameful conduct of some of their confreres” and stressed “the important need to turn this evil into an opportunity for purification”.

Read the full speech: English | Español | Français | Português

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