Protection of minors a priority for Pope, commission member says

Fr. Fr. Hans Zollner, S.J. speaks with CNA in Rome, March 25, 2014. Credit: Andreas Dueren/CNA

A German priest and psychologist recently appointed to the new Vatican commission for the protection of minors has stated that the initiative demonstrates Pope Francis’ concern regarding the immediacy of the issue.

“I believe that people realize that this is an issue that Pope Francis has put on his agenda and with a priority” Fr. Hans Zollner, S.J., told CNA in a March 25 interview.

Fr. Zollner is psychologist and professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and was recently named one of the initial eight members of the new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

According to Fr. Zollner, “the Commission is…an initial group of eight people who are named to find out who else could be members of a larger commission, including other members from other continents and countries.”

Drawing attention to the name of the commission, the priest noted that its current eight members “come from eight countries” and “from different fields.”

Headed by Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, Mass., the commission is composed of four women and four men including the cardinal and himself, the priest noted, emphasizing that one of the female members from Ireland is herself a “victim of sexual abuse by a priest.”

Emphasizing the commission’s need for credibility, Fr. Zoller explained that the reaction of people to the commission appointees “has been for the last few days very positive around the globe.”

“What people realize is that we can’t talk about sexual abuse committed by priests and other members of the Church without listening to the victims,” he emphasized, adding that “it’s a clear statement that the Church is committed to unwavering interest and policy to listen to victims, to put the victims first.”

Noting that the commission also reveals the Church’s “global approach” to the issue, the priest explained that the effort is “not only a commitment to one country or to one continent.”

“We have to spread out what Europeans and Northern Americans have learnt in the last decades in terms of prevention work, in terms of setting up safe environments for children and youth in general. So I think there is a big opportunity here.”

Fr. Zoller voiced that the commission could also serve as “a communication channel” between the Holy See and local Churches, as well as “from local churches to Rome,” and between the local churches themselves.

“We can see that within the Church much good has been done within the last decades,” he observed, but “with much suffering and much pain on the side of the victims and with much effort on the side of the Church authorities and of people involved.”

“But much good has come out of this in putting up protective environments for children and youth.”

Following the December announcement of the commission by the Council of Eight Cardinals selected by Pope Francis to assist him in matters of Church governance and reform, the pontiff revealed the names of eight persons who will serve as the committee’s first members last week.

Among the members of the commission are Dr. Catherine Bonnet of France; Mrs. Marie Collins of Ireland; Professor and Baroness Sheila Hollins of the U.K.; Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley O.F.M. Cap. of Boston; Professor Claudio Papale of Italy; Professor and former Prime Minister Hanna Suchocak of Poland, and Fr. Humberto Miguel Yanez, S.J. of Argentina.

 

Alan Holdren contributed to this piece.


Voices

Seeking the face of God in the Scriptures

Archbishop José H. Gomez

Prayer is seeking the face of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church recalls the story of how St. John Vianney once found a peasant praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The saint asked him what he was doing, and the man replied: “I look at him and he looks at me.”

Events

February 2016
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat

February 14, 2016

  • Sunday, February 14

    Mother Cabrini Library and Chapel Open House, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., 3801 Scott Road, Burbank. The event is hosted by the Los Angeles Region.

     

    Italian Catholic Club of SCV Valentine's Day Dinner Dance, 7 p.m., Our Lady of Perpetual Help (Parish Hall), 23233 Lyons Ave., Newhall. Come enjoy a delicious gourmet buffet dinner and dance the night away to the music of Linda Pippin. Wear your favorite red dress, shirt and/or tie. All adults (single or married) are welcome. Tickets are $35 each (prepaid), or $45 at the door. Please call Anna Riggs at (661) 645-7877 to reserve your spot by Feb. 10.

     

    Stations of the Cross, 2 p.m. Calvary Cemetery, 4201 Whittier Boulevard, East Los Angeles. Continuing each Sunday of Lent. For more info, please call Calvary Cemetery: 323-261-3106.

     

    Year of Mercy Mass and Pilgrimage in The Shrine of St. John Paul II, 3 p.m., Our Lady of the Bright Mount Church, 3424 W. Adams Boulevard, Los Angeles.  Mass celebrated in English with Fr. John Paul Gonzalez of Christ the King Church.  Mass will be followed by Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and confession, with Divine Mercy Chaplet.  The closing prayer will be a blessing and veneration of the 1st class relic of St. John Paul II.  

    South Bay Catholic Co-ed Adult Softball League Pre-Season Practice Games, McMaster Park, 3624 Artesia Blvd., Torrance.  Must RSVP to Fred Lawler (League Commissioner) at (310) 504-0271 or fredlawler@hotmail.com.

Get our news by email

Bob Smith BMW 300x250
Bob Smith Toyota 300x250
Bob Smith Mini 300x250