Apostolic letter protection minors
Title: Apostolic Letter issued Motu Proprio by The Supreme Pontiff Francis on the Protection of Minors and Vulnerable Persons
Author: The Supreme Pontiff
Publication: Holy See Press Office
The protection of minors and vulnerable persons is an integral part of the Gospel message that the Church and all its members are called to proclaim throughout the world. Christ himself, in fact, has entrusted us with the care and protection of the weakest and defenceless: “whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me” (Mt 18:5). Therefore, we all have the duty to welcome openheartedly minors and vulnerable persons and to create a safe environment for them, with their interests as a priority. This requires a continuous and profound conversion, in which personal holiness and moral commitment come together to promote the credibility of the Gospel proclamation and to renew the educational mission of the Church.
I want, therefore, to strengthen even more the institutional and regulatory framework to prevent and to counter abuses against minors and vulnerable persons so that in the Roman Curia and in Vatican City State:
– there exist a community respectful and mindful of the rights and the needs of minors and of vulnerable persons, as well as being vigilant in preventing any form of physical or psychological violence or abuse, abandonment, neglect, ill-treatment or exploitation that may occur either in interpersonal relationships or in shared spaces and facilities;
– everyone becomes ever more aware of the duty to report abuses to the competent Authorities and to cooperate with them in their prevention and opposition;
– all instances of abuse or ill-treatment of minors or of vulnerable persons are effectively prosecuted in accordance with the law;
– the right to be welcomed, listened to and accompanied is recognized of those who claim to have suffered exploitation, sexual abuse or ill-treatment, and of their families;
– to victims and to their families appropriate pastoral care is given, as well as adequate spiritual, medical, psychological and legal support;
– the right to a fair and impartial trial, in compliance with the presumption of innocence, as well as the principles of legality and proportionality between the crime and the sentence, is guaranteed to the accused;
– those who are convicted of having abused a minor or a vulnerable person are removed from their duties and that, at the same time, they are offered adequate support for their psychological and spiritual rehabilitation, also in view of their social reintegration;
– everything possible is done to rehabilitate the good name of those who have been wrongly accused;
– adequate training is provided for the protection of minors and vulnerable persons.
Therefore, with the present Letter I decree that: