The Director ad interim of the Holy See Press Office, Alessandro Gisotti, on Wednesday provided journalists with further information regarding “The protection of minors in the Church” Meeting, to be held in the Vatican from 21 to 24 February 2019.
The Organizing Committee of the Meeting gathered in Rome on Thursday 10 January, he said. Afterwards, the Holy Father received in audience the members of the Committee, who updated him on preparations for the Meeting.
The February Meeting will see Presidents of Bishops’ Conference from all over the world coming together to discuss, as the title indicates, “the protection of minors in the Church”. According to the Vatican Press Office communiqué, the Meeting will include plenary sessions, working groups, moments of common prayer, listening to testimonies, a penitential liturgy, and a final Eucharistic celebration.
Pope Francis has assured he will be present for the entire duration of the Meeting, and has entrusted Fr. Federico Lombardi SJ, with the task of moderating the Plenary sessions.
Following the publication of the communiqué, the Director ad interim 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 characterized 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 emphasize 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 fifteen years.”