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World news in brief

24 November 2023


The Pope at his weekly General Audience in St Peter's Square, Rome, on Wednesday

The Pope at his weekly General Audience in St Peter's Square, Rome, on Wednesday

Safeguarding is ‘not a negotiable matter’

WORK to protect children and vulnerable people from abuse is “not a negotiable matter”, the Pope has said. He was addressing the first national meeting, held on Saturday, of diocesan and regional representatives of the Italian Church’s Child Protection Services and Listening Centres, Vatican News reports. “We cannot stop in our action to protect minors and vulnerable people and, at the same time, to combat any form of abuse, whether sexual, of power, or of conscience.” This was the responsibility of “the entire community”, and “no silence or concealment can be accepted on the subject of abuse.” He spoke of the importance of listening to victims, and prosecuting the guilty. “What you are doing is precious both for the victims and for the entire ecclesial community,” he said. Last year, it was reported that about two-thirds of dioceses in Italy had set up listening centres, and 20,000 people had taken part in safeguarding training (News, 25 November 2022).

Pope responds to German theologians’ concerns

POPE FRANCIS has expressed concerns about steps taken in the Roman Catholic Church in Germany that “threaten to move further away from the common path of the universal Church”. He was responding, on 10 November, to a letter from four women scholars in Germany who had withdrawn from the German Synodal Path. The Path concluded this year, having considered the blessing of same-sex couples, priestly celibacy, clerical power, abuse, and the possibility of the priestly ordination of women, among other issues. The women expressed particular concern about proposals to establish a synodal committee “aimed at preparing the introduction of a directive and decision-making council”. In his response, the Pope said that such a body “cannot be harmonised with the sacramental structure of the Catholic Church” and had been prohibited by the Holy See, which has emphasised that the synodal process cannot make doctrinal decisions. He thanked the women for their work and “witness of faith”.


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