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Pope calls meeting with world’s bishops on abuse prevention

VATICAN (CNS): Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, who is president of a board of review handling abuse cases within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said on September 14 that Pope Francis’ convoking a meeing of the heads of every Catholic bishops’ conference in the world sends “a very strong signal of a hearty commitment to defend dignity, to safeguard minors in the Church.”
Pope Francis called the presidents of every Catholic bishops’ conference to Rome from 21 to 24 February 2019 to discuss the prevention of the abuse of minors and vulnerable adults. 
Speaking on the sidelines of the plenary assembly of the Council of Bishops’ Conferences of Europe in Poznan, Poland, the archbishop said, “that the issue of prevention of abuse and safeguarding minors requires the whole Church and requires everyone in the Church.”
People need to know that “lovely words and promises are not enough,” Archbishop Scicluna said, adding that what is needed is “an extensive commitment that concerns everyone, it involves the whole Church and everyone in the Church.” 
The Vatican announced the convocation of bishops on September 12 after the pope and members of his international Council of Cardinals wrapped up three days of meetings.
After hearing from the council, the pope “decided to convoke a meeting with the presidents of the bishops’ conferences of the Catholic Church on the theme of the protection of minors,” the council said in a written communiqué.
The members who were present “extensively reflected together with the Holy Father on the matters of abuse” during their September 10 to 12 deliberations. Sean Cardinal O’Malley of Boston, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, also updated those present with the commission’s ongoing efforts.
The six members in attendance were Cardinal O’Malley; Pietro Cardinal Parolin, Vatican secretary of state; Oscar Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga, of Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Oswald Cardinal Gracias, of Mumbai, India; Reinhard Cardinal Marx, of Munich and Freising, Germany; and Giuseppe Cardinal Bertello, president of the commission governing Vatican City State. 
The so-called C9, has been tasked with helping advise the pope on the reform of the Vatican’s organisation and Church governance.
The council said in its communiqué that, concerning work on the reform of the Curia, it finished “rereading the texts already prepared (and) also called attention to the pastoral care of personnel who work there,” in the Roman Curia.
Paloma Garcia Ovejero, vice director of the Vatican press office, told reporters that a major part of the council’s work was making final changes to the draft of the apostolic constitution that would govern the Curia.
The document, provisionally titled Praedicate Evangelium (Preach the Gospel), is still set for further “stylistic editing” and canonical review, she said.
At their last meeting in June, Pope Francis reviewed the finalised draft of the document which emphasises four points: the Curia is at the service of the pope and the local Churches throughout the world; the work of the Curia must have a pastoral character; the new section in the Vatican Secretariat of State would oversee the training, assigning and ministry of Vatican nuncios and diplomats around the world; and the proclamation of the gospel and a missionary spirit must characterise the activity of the Curia.
Garcia Ovejero reiterated the council’s last written statement from September 10 in which the members asked Pope Francis for a reflection on “the work, structure and composition of the council itself, also taking into account the advanced age of some of its members.”
The six again “expressed full solidarity with Pope Francis for what has happened in the last few weeks,” she said.
In response to questions, she said there was no word yet on the expected release of the “possible and necessary clarifications” that the council said were being formulated by the Holy See given the current debate on abuse in the Church. 
The council will meet again from December 10 to 12.

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