That evening (Friday, June 3rd), I departed for Rome to attend meetings with the Council of Cardinals advising the Holy Father.
On Saturday, the day I arrived in Rome, the Holy Father published his motu proprio "Like a Loving Mother," which clarifies the existing norms already in place for abuse cases, particularly with regard to negligence on the part of bishops, eparchs and religious superiors.
This is clearly an important and positive step forward by Pope Francis. Its purpose includes establishing a clear and transparent means for ensuring greater accountability in how we, as leaders of the Church, handle cases of abuse of minors and vulnerable adults. We are grateful that our Holy Father has received the recommendations from our Commission members and that they have contributed to this new and significant initiative.
Then in the early part of this week, the Council of Cardinals met for three days with the Holy Father to continue our work to reform the curia.
This time we continued our conversations about the different dicasteries, with a particular focus on the Secretariat of State, the Congregations for Bishops, Catholic Education, the Oriental Churches and the Clergy, and the Pontifical Councils for Culture, Promoting Christian Unity, and Interreligious Dialogue.
We also presented the Holy Father with the conclusions of our work on other congregations, Doctrine of the Faith, Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Causes of Saints, Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life -- as well as the new dicastery on "Charity, Justice and Peace." Of course, he will review them and may proceed with further analysis and consultation.
We were also updated on matters related to the Council for the Economy as well as the Secretariats for the Economy and Communications.
Msgr. Dario Vigano told us about the progress of reforms of the Holy See communications department and on the ongoing integration regarding Vatican Radio and the Vatican Television Centre.
I was given the opportunity to report on the activity of the Commission for the Protection of Minors, and we reflected on the Holy Father's new motu proprio.
On Thursday, I joined members of the Commission for the Protection of Minors in making a presentation to the Congregation for Religious. The entire congregation was there with Cardinal Joao Braz, Archbishop Carballo and all the staff.
Msgr. Robert Oliver, Father Hans Zollner and I gave about a three-hour session conference on child protection, followed by a period of questions and answers. The Congregation for Religious is a key congregation, dealing with religious all over the world, so we wanted to ensure that they are aware of the work of the Commission and engage them on the subject of child protection.
As I always like to do when I am in Rome, I took occasion of my visit to see as many people from Boston as I can.
On Tuesday I gathered with our seminarians who are studying in Rome.
I also had the chance to meet with Father John Abruzzese and our newly ordained Father Kevin Staley-Joyce during the course of the week.
Before leaving, Boston College president Father William Leahy accompanied me to the daily Mass celebrated by the Holy Father at Casa Santa Marta and afterward he had a chance to meet the pope.