Pope Francis sought to encourage his embattled child protection advisory board Friday, following weeks of turmoil sparked by the latest resignation of a founding member and fresh questions about its direction.
Francis urged his Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors to pursue a “spirituality of reparation” with abuse survivors and build a culture of safeguarding to prevent priests from raping and molesting children.
In particular, he praised the commission’s efforts to establish church child protection programs in Asia, Africa and Latin America, where there is less funding than in the U.S. and Europe.
“It is not right that the most prosperous areas of the world should have well-trained and well-funded safeguarding programs, where victims and their families are respected, while in other parts of the world they suffer in silence, perhaps rejected or stigmatized when they try to come forward to tell of the abuse they have suffered,” Francis said.
Francis announced the creation of the commission in 2013 to provide best-practices advice on combatting abuse in the church. The commission has gone through several iterations in the decade since, most significantly with resignations of members frustrated by the resistance of the Vatican bureaucracy to its recommendations and exasperated about the commission’s unclear mandate and model.
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