As I mentioned last week, I am currently in Rome for meetings and activities connected with the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and the C-9 Council of Cardinals.
As I left off last week, the Commission for the Protection of Minors was in the midst of our meetings, which went from Thursday afternoon through Sunday. We had a very productive session and the work of the commission goes on. In this gathering we addressed the Day of Prayer for survivors and victims of sexual abuse that the different bishops' conferences are working to implement, the Holy Father's Motu Proprio "As a Loving Mother," and the upcoming launch of our new web page. Meanwhile, we continue to give trainings for bishops' conferences and other Church leaders.
In fact, this week we were involved in trainings for the Congregation for the Clergy with Cardinal Beniamino Stella and his staff. Marie Collins, a member of the commission who is also a survivor, gave a beautiful testimony; Father Hans Zollner spoke about questions of formation in seminaries; I gave a general talk on the work of the commission and some of the issues around child protection; and finally Msgr. Robert Oliver, the secretary of the commission, was there to answer questions around issues of Canon Law.
We had a very good session, and after the introductory talks, there was a question and answer period with the members of the congregation.
Also, today (9/16), we addressed the group of about 150 new bishops who have been named throughout the year and are gathered in Rome this week. The programs were quite similar, though with the Congregation for the Clergy we dealt much more with formation, because they are concerned with seminaries and ongoing formation. With the new bishops, I tried to stress the obligations that they will have on some of the issues addressed in the guidelines such as screening, reporting and trainings.
Among the group of new bishops are a number of Americans, including our two new auxiliaries, Bishop Robert Reed and Bishop Mark O'Connell.
Boston in Rome
Though the meetings of the Council of Cardinals run through most of the day, we do still have to eat! So I like to take advantage of these breaks to see people I might not otherwise have a chance to, and in particular Boston folks who are in Rome. On Saturday (9/10) evening I was happy to join our group of Boston pilgrims who have been visiting Rome.
On Monday (9/12), I had a chance to have lunch with Archbishop Paul Russell who is from Boston and is the Apostolic Nuncio to Turkey. We continue to pray for Archbishop Russell in his new assignment with all the many challenges at this time. We also pray for peace there and for the situation of the Church in the region where Christians are such a minority. Archbishop Paul remains very happy to be in the place where Pope St. John XXIII, who had such a high regard for the Turkish people, worked so diligently.
And, on Wednesday (9/14) I had an opportunity to have dinner with Bishops Reed and O'Connell, our seminarians studying in Rome, and Father Dan Hennessey who is here along with Father Tony Medeiros to receive the new seminarians who will be studying at our Redemptoris Mater Seminary.