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Pope may link child protection arm to Doctrine of the Faith

'Their safety is key' Francis tells Congregation plenary

31 January, 13:55
Pope may link child protection arm to Doctrine of the Faith (ANSA) - Vatican City, January 31 - Pope Francis told the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Friday that it may be directly linked with a new Vatican commission to protect children. "The possibility is being assessed," he told the orthodoxy watchdog's plenary session in Rome. Francis was referring to a special commission advising him on how the Catholic Church should protect children and help victims of sexual abuse by the clergy, launched last month in response to a worldwide scandal involving untold victims that has put the Church on the defensive for more than a decade.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has traditionally been tasked with overseeing reports of priests sexually abusing children, whereas the new commission deals specifically with preventing pedophelia and looking after victims. Linking the groups would aim to coordinate those two efforts.

"Think of the wellbeing of children and youth in the Christian Community that must always be protected," added the Argentine pontiff. The announcement of the sex-abuse commission came days after the Vatican rebuffed a request from the United Nations to provide information on alleged child sex abuse by priests, nuns or monks, arguing the cases fell under the auspices of the judicial authorities in countries where abuse happened.

But two weeks ago, a delegation of senior Vatican officials made a rare appearance before a U.N. committee wrapping up its examination of whether the Holy See has complied with the U.N.

Convention on the Rights of the Child, which it ratified in 1990.

Delegates argued again the Vatican did not normally disclose information about the religious discipline of clergy members unless that was specifically requested by the authorities in the country where they were serving.