Superiors of male and female religious institutes around the world have drawn up a Declaration in support of Pope Francis and the meeting on the protection of minors that will take place in the Vatican from 21 to 24 February, for presidents of episcopal conferences.
The text of the Declaration was released by the Holy See Press Office. It began by stressing the commitment of religious institutes in favour of children, against the trafficking of minors, in favour of saving child soldiers, in protecting them from abuses of all kinds. But it also expresses “shame” that the meeting at the Vatican will discuss the “abuses [that] have occurred in our Congregations and Orders and in our Church.” “Our shame – it adds – is increased by our own lack of realisation of what has been happening.”
Expressing “hope” in the value of the imminent meeting, the superiors affirm that “The leadership of the Holy Father is key… We join with him in his mission to humbly acknowledge and confess the wrongs that have been done; to reach out to survivors; to learn from them how to accompany those who have been abused and how they wish us to hear their stories.”