Roman Catholic Church reform movement Voice of the Faithful applauds today’s promulgation of the statutes governing the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. Established at the height of publicity surrounding clergy sexual abuse in the United States in 2002, VOTF considers this step significant because it ratifies the Commission’s independence from Curia-controlled offices and because the statutes were written by the Commission members themselves.
Commission member Marie Collins described the work the Commission conducted in drafting these statutes during her keynote address at the VOTF 2015 National Assembly in Hartford, Conn., last month.
As listed on the Vatican’s news website, the statutes establish the Commission’s autonomous existence within the Vatican bureaucracy, creating a central location responsible specifically and only for clergy sexual abuse. The statutes reiterate the “paramount importance” of the protection of minors and charge the Commission with advising the Pope on initiatives that “promote the responsibility of local Churches” to protect “all minors and vulnerable adults.”
In addition, the Commission will advise the Pope directly, effectively removing any bureaucratic or curial barriers between it and the Pontiff. The statutes give the Commission authority to require an “account of the effectiveness” of any competent body within the Church responsible for the protection of minors. And the statutes do not require members to be clerics, which will tamp down the effects of clericalism on the commission’s deliberations and decisions.
As important as these statutes are, VOTF awaits funding for the Commission’s work and hopes this will not take another decade.
Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in the governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.