In a meeting last Thursday in the Vatican, Pope Francis reiterated the Church’s zero tolerance pledge to respond with the firmest of measures to those who abuse minors.

Pope Francis met in a plenary meeting with the members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors last Thursday. The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors is an institution of the Roman Curia founded by Pope Francis in March of 2014 with the sole purpose of proposing initiatives to protect minors from abuse within the Church.

After remarks from the president of the commission, Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley of Boston and other members, Pope Francis addressed all present, opening with

“I wish to share with you the profound pain I feel in my soul for the situation of abused children, as I have had occasion to do recently several times.”

In his speech, he shared with the commission how he had the opportunity to hear from survivors of abuse who shared their stories in hopes of helping combat the problem. He encouraged all members present to do the same to continue their efforts in eradicating abuses of minors. He praised the churches around the globe that have created a day of prayer and those that have instituted new educational initiatives in response.

Pope Francis also reiterated the Church’s policy of abuse of minors, saying they take a zero tolerance approach and have the firmest of measures in response:

“The Church, at all levels, will respond with the application of the firmest measures against all those who have betrayed their call and abused the children of God.”

In closing, Francis touched on the goals of the Church and the commission, saying:

“For all of us, the Catholic Church remains a field hospital that accompanies us on our spiritual journey. It is the place where we can sit with others, listen to them and share with them our struggles and our faith in the good news of Jesus Christ. I am fully confident that the Commission will continue to be a place where we can listen with interest to the voices of the victims and the survivors. Because we have much to learn from them and their personal stories of courage and perseverance.”

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