Vatican to form commission on abuse

(NCR) When Pope Francis announced in April that he would convene a sort of “kitchen cabinet” of the world’s cardinals, he gave the group two general objectives: to help him in reforming the Vatican’s bureaucracy and to advise him in governing the global church.

While we are still waiting to see exactly where pursuit of the first goal will lead, December’s meeting of the Council of Cardinals saw the group embracing the second.

As the council wrapped up its second meeting at the Vatican Dec. 5, the group’s lone American, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, announced that Francis was creating, at the cardinals’ recommendation, a new commission that would advise the pope on safeguarding children from sexual abuse.

O’Malley said at a press briefing that the commission is to comprise international experts and to focus on the pastoral aspect of the continuing clergy sexual abuse crisis. The pope has not determined the specifics of how the commission will function or where it will fit into the Vatican’s bureaucracy, he said.

“Up to now, there’s been so much focus on the judicial parts of this, but the pastoral response of the church is very, very important and the Holy Father is concerned about that,” O’Malley said. “And so we feel as though having the advantage of a commission of experts that would be able to study some of these issues and bring concrete recommendations for the Holy Father and the Holy See will be very important.” [more]