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Pope Francis agrees to form commission for child protection

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Pope Francis today accepted the recommendation of his "Council of Eight" Cardinals who assist him in the governance of the universal Church that a commission be created to focus on the protection of children within the Church. “Accepting a proposal that has been presented by the Council of Cardinals, the Holy Father has decided to establish a very specific commission for the protection of children,” Cardinal O'Malley said in a news conference. “The commission will be able to advise the Holy Father about the protection of children and the pastoral care for victims of abuse.”

“Among the responsibilities of the commission will be to study the present programs in place for protection of children and to come up with suggestions or new initiatives on the part of the curia in collaboration with the bishops and the episcopal conferences,” O'Malley stated. Cardinal O'Malley is a member of Pope Francis' Group of Eight Cardinal advisers.

The Cardinal said that the role of the commission will not be to supersede the authority of local bishops in any way in how to deal with individual cases of abuse in their dioceses, saying that the “competence lies with bishops.” Cardinal O'Malley said that it is not known yet whether the new commission may have oversight in cases where it is deemed that the local Ordinary may not have been accountable in reporting cases of child sexual abuse, or whether that may be the responsibility of another body in the Roman Curia.

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