Diocese creates Commission to help victims of pedophilia and sexual abuse in the Church

The creation of this commission results from the application of a determination of the Holy See for all dioceses of the Catholic Church

At the end of May, the Diocese of Algarve created the Diocesan Commission for the Protection of Minors and Vulnerable Adults. The aim is to combat "sexual abuse by members of the Catholic clergy."

The creation of this commission results from the application of a determination of the Holy See for all dioceses of the Catholic Church.

In a speech, on February 24, after the “Meeting on the Protection of Minors in the Church”, Pope Francis had already acknowledged that “in the Church the awareness of the duty to seek not only to contain the most serious abuses with measures has grown. disciplinary and civil and canonical processes, but also to resolutely confront the phenomenon inside and outside the Church».

“I want to repeat this clearly: even if in the Church there was a single case of abuse – which in itself constitutes a monstrosity – it will be dealt with with the utmost seriousness,” he said.

Now, recognizing this “growing awareness of the duty to do everything to contain this type of abuse”, it was decided to create these bodies.

According to the Diocese of Algarve, the Church even has the “obligation to welcome minors and adults, especially the most fragile and vulnerable, and to create a safe environment that promotes and defends the dignity proper to every human person”.

To this end, “all its members, especially clerics and consecrated persons, are required to have an attitude of continual conversion, so that the personal witness of holiness and moral commitment contributes to promoting the credibility of the proclamation of the Gospel and its quality and effectiveness of the Church's educational mission».

For this reason, this Commission has "the objective of receiving, listening to and forwarding allegations of cases of sexual and power abuse committed, in the ecclesiastical sphere, against vulnerable children and adults", as well as "following all those involved in each case and helping to cure those who have been injured” and “promote timely awareness-raising actions” with a view to creating “a culture of accountability and prevention”.

In addition to the canonical norms, this commission will draw up its own regulations that determine the way in which it operates and will be approved by the diocesan bishop.

The commission's way of proceeding will involve, first, receiving the denouncements that reach it, then collecting the statements and forwarding the information received to the competent ecclesiastical and civil authorities.

This is followed by the support and monitoring of victims and complainants, ensuring the Diocese, finally, the defense of the complainants, as well as spiritual, medical, therapeutic, psychological and legal assistance, as necessary, to those suspected of harming the well- being and the integrity of minors or vulnerable adults.

This commission is made up of a canon lawyer (coordinator), a public prosecutor, a child psychiatrist, a judge of law and a specialist in social communication.

The committee can be contacted through the email address: [email protected] and the postal address: Commission for the Protection of Vulnerable Children and Adults, Largo da Sé, 15, 8000-138 Faro.