11/26/2018, 11.30
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India’s Card. Gracias named to organizing committee of conference on protection of minors in the Church

by Nirmala Carvalho

From 21 to 24 February 2019 the meeting on "The protection of minors in the Church" will take place in the Vatican. The aim is to discuss the issue of child abuse by ecclesiastical members. Nun from Mumbai, member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors: "We must reiterate zero tolerance for those who commit crimes against children and vulnerable adults".

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - To discuss - and try to solve - the problem of child abuse by the clergy, the meeting on "The protection of minors in the Church" will take place in the Vatican next February. Among the members of the organizing committee, Pope Francis chose Card. Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Indian Bishops' Conference (Cbci). Speaking to AsiaNews, Sr. Arina Gonsalves, recently included among the new members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, comments: "I am happy with this appointment".

In addition to being part of the pontifical commission, the religious has worked for years within the archdiocese in the same area. In Mumbai, a child protection committee was set up to promote the  Protection of Children from the 2012 Sexual Offenses Act (Pocso Act) - and the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Shww) ) [2013, ed] - against exploitation and abuse on women in the workplace.

Sr. Arina reports that the proposal of the meeting to be held in the Vatican from 21 to 24 February 2019 was "developed by the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, reviewed by the Council of Cardinals, of which Card. Gracias is a part, and finally accepted by the Holy Father ". The Indian archbishop adds, "he is an expert in canon law and has extensive experience. He can make a great contribution from within on various topics with an Asian perspective. This is why his contribution will be rich and varied ".

Card. Sean P. O'Malley, president of the Pontifical Commission, said that "this is a critical moment for the universal Church in dealing with the sexual abuse scandal. The February meeting is an important moment to outline a clear path for all the dioceses in the world ".

The main task of the conference, adds sr. Arina, " a commitment to zero tolerance in the area of sexual abuse of the minors, work for greater transparency and the third to encourage all religious orders to adopt a similar policy and cooperate with civil and legal authorities. The church believes that we must place the support and pastoral care to the survivors first". It is, she concludes, " is a long journey for all of us and in this journey we need the support of the catholic families and requires a partnership between the Laity and Clergy in responding to the failures of church authorities by holding them accountable for the crimes against children and vulnerable adults.".

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