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Pope Francis prays that young people will follow Mary’s example

Pope Francis with a statue of the Virgin and Child. / Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.

Vatican City, May 3, 2022 / 09:35 am (CNA).

Pope Francis’ prayer intention for the month of May is that young people will follow the example of the Virgin Mary and live a faith-filled life.

“Let us pray, brothers and sisters, so that all young people, called to live life to the fullest, may discover in Mary’s life the way to listen, the depth of discernment, the courage of faith, and dedication to service,” he said in his video for May 2022.

The video, published on May 3, was promoted by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, which raises awareness of monthly papal prayer intentions.

In the video, the pope’s message was accompanied by images of a girl drawing a picture of the Virgin Mary and Child Jesus. As she works on the image, her grandfather approaches with a package, which she opens to discover a box of paints and paintbrushes.

“When I think of a model with whom young people can identify with, our Mother, Mary, always comes to mind: her courage, the way she knew how to listen, and her dedication to service,” the pope said.

“She was courageous and determined to say ‘yes’ to the Lord. You young people, who want to build something new, a better world, follow her example, take risks,” he urged.

The pope also pointed out the important role of grandparents, encouraging young people to “listen to the words of grandparents.”

“In those words of grandparents, you will find a wisdom that will take you beyond the issues of the moment,” he said. “They will provide an overview of your concerns.”

“Don’t forget,” he said, “that in order to follow Mary you need to discern and discover what Jesus wants from you, not what you might think you can do.”

During the month of May, Pope Francis has also asked Catholics to pray the rosary daily for peace, especially in light of the Ukraine war.

Pope Francis says he wants to meet Putin in Moscow to discuss Ukraine war

Pope Francis and Russian President Vladimir Putin. / Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk/Kremlin.ru via Wikimedia (CC BY 4.0).

Vatican City, May 3, 2022 / 03:05 am (CNA).

Pope Francis has said that he will not visit Ukraine right now, but he would like to meet Vladimir Putin in Moscow if the Russian president is willing.

In an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, published May 3, the pope said that he asked Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin about 20 days into the Russia-Ukraine war to convey the message to Putin that he was willing to meet him in Moscow.

“We have not yet had a response and we are still insisting, even if I fear that Putin cannot and does not want to do this meeting at this time,” he said.

Francis also said that “for now, I will not go to Kyiv,” noting that he had sent Cardinal Michael Czerny and Cardinal Konrad Krajewski as his envoys.

“But I feel that I should not go,” he said. “First I should go to Moscow, first I should meet Putin. But I am also a priest, what can I do? I am doing what I can. If Putin would open the door…”

The pope recalled that after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 he spoke to Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the phone.

On Feb. 25, he went to the Russian embassy, but Francis clarified that he “did not call” Putin while he was there. At the embassy, “I asked them to explain to me, I told them, ‘please stop,’” the pope said.

In the interview, Pope Francis also reflected on whether statements made by NATO toward Russia prompted a worse reaction from Putin.

He said he would not say that Putin’s ire was “provoked” by NATO’s statements, but that maybe it was “encouraged.”

“But so much brutality, how can you not stop it? Twenty-five years ago with Rwanda, we experienced the same thing,” he said, appearing to compare the situation in Ukraine to the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Pope Francis also spoke about his video conference call with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church in March. He said that in the first half of the 40-minute conversation, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia “read me all the justifications for the war.”

“I listened and told him: I do not understand anything about this. Brother, we are not state clerics, we cannot use the language of politics, but the language of Jesus. We are pastors of the same holy people of God. That is why we have to look for ways of peace, to stop the fire of weapons,” Francis recounted.

“The patriarch cannot become Putin’s altar boy,” the pope added. “I had a meeting scheduled with him in Jerusalem on June 14. It would have been our second face-to-face meeting, nothing to do with the war. But now even he agrees: let’s stop, it could be an ambiguous signal.”

Pope Francis to undergo medical procedure for ‘torn ligament’ in knee

Pope Francis greets German Bishop Stefan Oster on May 2, 2022. / Vatican Media.

Vatican City, May 3, 2022 / 02:41 am (CNA).

Pope Francis will undergo a medical procedure on his knee on Tuesday, according to Italian media reports.

The 85-year-old pope said in an interview published on May 3 that he would undergo a small intervention for a torn ligament.

“I have a torn ligament, I’ll do an intervention with infiltrations and we shall see,” Pope Francis said, according to comments published by the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

“I have been like this for some time, I cannot walk. … It also brings a little pain, humiliation,” the pope added.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni told CNA that from what he understood about the procedure, “it’s basically an injection.”

Pope Francis has been suffering from an inflamed ligament, causing pain in his right knee and leg. He said on April 30 that his doctor had ordered him not to walk.

Therapeutic injections are sometimes used to relieve knee pain caused by ligament tears.

The pope made the comments about his knee pain and treatment during a 40-minute interview with journalists from Italy’s most read newspaper, in which he also spoke at length about the war in Ukraine, and the Vatican’s relations with the Russian government and the Russian Orthodox leader Patriarch Kirill.

At the beginning of the interview, the pope said: “Excuse me if I cannot get up to greet you, the doctors told me that I have to remain seated for the knee.”

During some recent public audiences and liturgies, Francis has taken a smaller role or spent more time seated due to this pain.

On the day before the reported surgery, the pope moved a scheduled meeting to his residence in the Santa Marta guesthouse, rather than the apostolic palace.

The pope’s movements have been visibly more limited since February.

Vatican basilica to lead candlelight rosary procession during May

A candlelight Stations of the Cross in St. Peter’s Square on Good Friday 2021. / Vatican Media

Vatican City, May 2, 2022 / 10:39 am (CNA).

Throughout the month of May, the Vatican will host two weekly occasions for prayer in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, it was announced on Monday.

On the four Saturdays of May, from 9:00 to 10:00 p.m., Cardinal Angelo Comastri will lead a candlelight rosary procession around St. Peter’s Square.

A reproduction of the image of Mary under her title “Mater Ecclesiae,” which means “Mother of the Church,” will be present in the square during the rosary.

Comastri, who is the former archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, also led a daily livestreamed rosary during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and national lockdowns.

A second Vatican initiative for the month of May will be a walking prayer service stopping at images of the Virgin Mary found in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The walking prayer will take place on the four Wednesdays of May at 4:00 p.m. and will be followed by the celebration of Mass at 5:00 p.m.

Pope Francis has called Catholics to pray the rosary every day for peace.

The original Mater Ecclesiae image of the Virgin Mary and the Christ Child was painted on a column in old St. Peter’s Basilica, built by Emperor Constantine in the 4th century. It was later transferred to the 16th-century St. Peter’s Basilica, where it can still be seen above one of the side altars.

A mosaic of the Virgin Mary overlooking St. Peter’s Square was inspired by the original Mater Ecclesiae image. The mosaic was installed after the assassination attempt against St. Pope John Paul II in 1981.

When he blessed the mosaic, John Paul II prayed “that all those who will come to this St. Peter’s Square will lift up their gaze towards you [Mary], to direct, with feelings of filial trust, their greetings and their prayers.”

In 2018, Pope Francis added the memorial of “Mary, Mother of the Church” to the liturgical calendar for the Monday after Pentecost.

Pope Francis moves meeting to Vatican home because of painful knee

Pope Francis meets members of the International Federation of Catholic Pharmacists on May 2, 2022, in the Vatican's Santa Marta guesthouse. / Vatican Media

Vatican City, May 2, 2022 / 07:40 am (CNA).

Due to an ongoing struggle with knee pain, Pope Francis on Monday met a group of Catholic pharmacists at his Vatican residence, instead of the apostolic palace.

“This audience should have been at the apostolic palace, but because of my knee it is here. Excuse me,” the pope said May 2, at the beginning of a meeting in the Santa Marta guesthouse, where he lives.

Pope Francis, 85, has been suffering from an inflamed ligament, causing pain in his right knee and leg. He said on April 30 that his doctor has ordered him not to walk.

During some recent public audiences and liturgies, Francis has taken a smaller role or spent more time seated.

The pope’s movements have been visibly more limited since the start of the year.

While popes usually live in the papal apartments in the apostolic palace, at the start of his pontificate, Pope Francis opted to keep his apartment in the Vatican guesthouse instead.

In his meeting with representatives of the International Federation of Catholic Pharmacists, Pope Francis said the COVID-19 pandemic has placed pharmacists on the response “front lines.”

“Citizens, often lost, have found in you a point of reference for assistance, advice, information, and also — as we well know — to be able to quickly carry out the tests necessary for life and daily activities,” he said.

He encouraged pharmacists to carry out their work “on a human scale,” noting that neighborhood pharmacies can have a character of familiarity not always true of other health care environments.

Pope Francis praised the Catholic pharmacists for creating an association as a means of mutual support, and reminded them that Church associations are “always open to everyone and at the service of all, naturally with respect for the principles of Christian morality, based on the dignity of the human person.”

Pope Francis weeps at Ukraine suffering, calls for daily rosary for peace

Pope Francis at the Easter Vigil Mass on April 16, 2022. / Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Vatican City, May 1, 2022 / 10:57 am (CNA).

Pope Francis has again lamented the suffering caused by the invasion of Ukraine and encouraged the faithful to pray a rosary every day for peace.

Speaking to the crowd in St. Peter’s Square after the May 1 Regina Caeli prayers, the pope said his thoughts went immediately to the city of Mariupol, the “city of Mary” which has been “barbarously bombed and destroyed.”

“I suffer and weep, thinking of the suffering of the Ukrainian people and in particular of the weakest, the elderly and children,” he said. “There are even terrible reports of children being expelled and deported.”

He again called for safe humanitarian corridors for those trapped in the city, now largely under Russian control.

Pope Francis said he wondered whether peace really is being sought amid “a macabre regression of humanity.” He asked if everything possible is being done to “silence the weapons,” Vatican News reports.

“Let us take the path of dialogue and peace! Let us pray,” he said.

U.N. efforts to evacuate people from a Ukrainian-held Mariupol steel plant began Sunday in cooperation with the International Red Cross. Up to 1,000 civilians are still at the plant, as are about 2,000 Ukrainian fighters.

The evacuation effort is coordinating with Ukrainian and Russian officials

Up to 100,000 people could still be in the blockaded city, the Associated Press reports. Mariupol is a key port city near the Crimea Peninsula.

In early April the city’s mayor Vadym Boychenko has estimated at least 10,000 residents have died in the fighting, a number he claimed rose to 20,000 on Saturday, Newsweek reports. In a post to his Telegram channel, he said more than 40,000 people were forcibly deported.

On April 29, the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said that there have been 2,899 civilian deaths confirmed since the invasion began two months ago, but the actual number is believed to be much higher. The British Defense Ministry estimates that about 15,000 Russian military personnel have died in the fighting, and other sources have estimated thousands of Ukrainian military casualties as well.

Last Sunday, April 24, Pope Francis marked two months since the beginning of the war. He renewed his call for an Easter truce in Ukraine, linking his call for peace to a day when many Eastern Christians celebrate Easter.

“It is sad that in these days, which are the holiest and most solemn for all Christians, the deadly roar of weapons is heard rather than the sound of bells announcing the Resurrection; and it is sad that weapons are increasingly taking the place of words,” the pope said.

Christians with 'empty nets' must return to Jesus, Pope Francis says

null / Vatican Media.

Vatican City, May 1, 2022 / 08:16 am (CNA).

Christians must ask themselves whether they are like St. Peter, who after his encounter with Jesus tried to return to fishing, but only found “empty nets” until he rushed back to the risen Christ with renewed enthusiasm and love.

Those were the thoughts of Pope Francis in his remarks before the Regina Caeli prayers with those gathered at St. Peter’s Square on Sunday.

“It can happen to us, out of tiredness, disappointment, perhaps out of laziness, to forget the Lord and to neglect the great choices we have made, to be content with something else,” said the pope on May 1.

“For example, we do not devote time to talking to each other in the family, preferring personal pastimes; we forget prayer, letting ourselves be wrapped up in our own needs; we neglect charity, with the excuse of daily urgencies.”

“But, in doing so, we find ourselves disappointed: with empty nets, like Peter,” said the pontiff.

Pope Francis drew on the gospel reading for Sunday, from the 21st chapter of the Gospel of St. John, after Jesus’ Crucifixion. It recounts Peter returning to fishing at the Lake of Galilee, where he had once abandoned fishing to follow Jesus. The pope suggested that Peter was disheartened and sought to return to his former life.

“And what does Jesus do?” Pope Francis recounted. “He returns again to the shore of the lake where he had chosen Peter, Andrew, James and John. He does not reproach them, but calls the disciples tenderly: ‘children’.”

“Then he invites them, as before, to cast their nets again, courageously. And this time the nets are filled to overflowing,” said the pope.

“Brothers, sisters, when our nets are empty in life, it is not the time to feel sorry for ourselves, to have fun, to return to old pastimes. It is the time to start again with Jesus, to find the courage to begin again, to set out with him,” Pope Francis continued.

After the apostle John recognizes Jesus on the shore, Peter “immediately dives into the water and swims towards Jesus.”

“It is a gesture of love, because love goes beyond usefulness, convenience or duty; love generates wonder, it inspires creative, freely-given zeal,” Pope Francis said. “In this way, while John, the youngest, recognizes the Lord, it is Peter, the eldest, who dives towards him. In that dive there is all the new-found enthusiasm of Simon, known as Peter.”

“Dear brothers and sisters, today we are invited to a new enthusiasm, to dive into the good without fear of losing something, without calculating too much, without waiting for others to begin. Because in order to go out to meet Jesus, we need to unburden ourselves,” he said. “Let us ask ourselves: am I capable of an outburst of generosity, or do I restrain the impulse of my heart and close myself off in habit, in fear?”

“Jump in, dive in,” the pope exhorted. “Jesus asks you, who have empty nets and are afraid to start out again; to you, who do not have the courage to dive in and have lost momentum.”

When Peter met Jesus on the shore, he affirmed his love multiple times.

“‘Do you love me?’ asks Jesus. From then on, Peter stopped fishing forever and dedicated himself to the service of God and to his brothers and sisters, to the point of giving his life here, where we are now,” Pope Francis said, referring to the martyrdom site of Peter.

“And what about us, do we want to love Jesus?” the pope asked, praying “May Our Lady, who readily said ‘yes’ to the Lord, help us to rediscover the enthusiasm to do good.”

After the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis turned to the invasion of Ukraine. He encouraged the faithful to pray a rosary every day for peace.

He said his thoughts went immediately to the city of Mariupol, “barbarously bombed and destroyed.”

He again called for safe humanitarian corridors for those trapped in the city, now largely under Russian control.

“I suffer and weep, thinking of the suffering of the Ukrainian people and in particular of the weakest, the elderly and children,” he said. “There are even terrible reports of children being expelled and deported.”

The Pope wondered whether peace really is being sought amid “a macabre regression of humanity.” He asked if everything possible is being done to “silence the weapons,” Vatican News reports.

“Let us take the path of dialogue and peace! Let us pray,” he said.

Pope Francis: ‘The doctor has told me not to walk’

Pope Francis greets Catholic bishops on a pilgrimage from Slovakia to Rome on April 30, 2022 / Vatican Media

Vatican City, Apr 30, 2022 / 07:40 am (CNA).

Pope Francis said on Saturday that he continues to have problems with his leg, for which his doctor has ordered him not to walk.

“There is a problem: this leg is not good, it does not work, and the doctor has told me not to walk. I like to go... but this time I have to obey the doctor,” he said in a meeting with a Catholic pilgrimage group from Slovakia on April 30.

At the end of his speech in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, the pope said he would not be able to walk to greet the Slovakian pilgrims.

“For this I will ask you for the sacrifice of going up the stairs and I will greet you from here, sitting,” he stated. “It is a humiliation, but I offer it for your country.”

Pope Francis has been suffering from an inflamed ligament in his right knee, causing pain when he walks. During the last several weeks, he has canceled meetings and opted to spend more time seated during public audiences or Masses.

During Saturday’s gathering, the pope walked unassisted, but with a visible limp, to his seat on the stage. He also stood while giving the final blessing. He otherwise remained seated.

In his remarks, Pope Francis spoke about his visit to Slovakia in September 2021, which he said he carries “in my heart.”

He addressed thousands of Catholics who came on pilgrimage to Rome from Slovakia in thanksgiving for the pope’s trip to their country.

“It has been a great pleasure for me to see how the Church in Slovakia lives the richness of the diversity of rites and traditions, as a bridge that unites the Christian West and East,” Pope Francis said.

“We thank the Lord because, despite the pandemic, I was able to visit your country; may He make the fruits of the apostolic journey mature.”

Francis also thanked the Slovakian people for welcoming him to their country, and for the hospitality they are now showing to Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war.

“In recent months, many of your families, parishes and institutions have received under their roof the mothers and children of Ukrainian families forced to split up in order to save themselves, who had arrived with their poor luggage,” he said.

“Looking into their eyes,” the pope added, “you are witnesses of how war does violence to family ties, deprives children of the presence of their father, of school, and leaves grandparents abandoned.”

He encouraged Slovakian Catholics to continue to pray and work for peace in their country.

“Whoever welcomes a needy person performs not only an act of charity, but also of faith, because he recognizes Jesus in his brother and sister,” he stated.

“Thank you,” he continued, “for your fidelity to Christ, manifested in the witness of lived faith, in the practical ecumenism of your relations with your neighbors, in the welcoming charity also of those who are different, in the respect for every human life and in the responsible care for the environment.”

Cardinal O’Malley defends the independence of the Vatican’s safeguarding commission

Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors president Cardinal Seán O’Malley, left, attends a press conference near the Vatican, April 29, 2022. / Screenshot from Vatican News YouTube channel.

Vatican City, Apr 29, 2022 / 09:20 am (CNA).

Cardinal Seán O’Malley defended the independence of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors on Friday as the commission prepares to occupy a new position within the Roman Curia.

“One of the things that people obviously were concerned about and wanted to know about is what’s the independence of the commission now that it becomes part of the Curia,” he said at a press conference near the Vatican on April 29.

The American cardinal, who serves as the president of the safeguarding commission, underlined that Pope Francis “has assured us that … the commission will be independent.”

After the publication of the pope’s new apostolic constitution, Praedicate evangelium, which places the pontifical council within the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), abuse survivor Marie Collins expressed concern that the reform could lead to the body losing its independence.

Collins joined the commission in 2014 but resigned in 2017, citing a lack of co-operation from Vatican dicasteries, specifically from the CDF, as one of the main reasons for stepping down.

O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston, insisted at the press conference that the commission would continue to “communicate directly to the Holy Father our recommendations and thoughts,” while working closely with the institution that will be known as Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith when the new constitution comes into effect in June.

Meeting with commission members earlier in the day, Pope Francis also expressed a desire for the body, which he instituted in 2014, to remain independent.

“The apostolic constitution marks a new beginning,” the pope said. “It put you in the Curia’s organization chart within that dicastery, but independent, with a president appointed by the pope. Independent. It is your responsibility to expand the scope of this mission in such a way that the protection and care of those who have experienced abuse may become normative in every sector of the Church’s life.”

Pope Francis added that he believed the commission’s collaboration with the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith would enrich the commission’s work.

In the new constitution, the pope reorganized the internal structure of the Vatican’s doctrine office into two sections: a doctrinal section and a disciplinary section.

Father Andrew Small, the commission’s secretary, said that the body’s inclusion within the dicastery responsible for justice and discipline could make the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith “a one-stop shop” for both protection, a proactive vision, and the consequences of wrongdoing.

He said that there had been a presentation by those responsible for drafting the apostolic constitution that provided a sense of the “theological understanding of why the commission, with this clear focus on safeguarding and protection, should be as close as possible to the department that focuses on justice and what is traditionally called the preservation of morals.”

“And that the commission will have a structural input in the administration of justice was made very clear during our meeting,” Small said.

The priest noted that there had been some preliminary conversations to see how the commission could access information and criminal processes, adding: “There’s no such thing as hidden justice.”

Pope Francis agreed to establish the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors in 2013 as a papal advisory body to improve the Church’s norms and procedures for the protection of children and vulnerable adults.

The advisory group has been headed by O’Malley since its establishment. Other members include Father Hans Zollner, Juan Carlos Cruz, Bishop Luis Manuel Alí Herrera, and Sister Jane Bertelsen, among others.

In Pope Francis’ speech to the commission, he said that he was moving the commission within the dicastery that deals with clerical sexual abuse in part because “it was not possible to have a ‘satellite commission,’ circling around but unattached to the organization chart.”

The apostolic constitution will come into force on June 5, the Solemnity of Pentecost.

Pope Francis said: “I would like you to propose better methods to enable the Church to protect minors and vulnerable persons and to assist the healing of survivors, in the recognition that justice and prevention are complementary.”

“Indeed, your service provides a proactive and prospective vision of the best practices and procedures that can be implemented in the entire Church.”

Pope Francis asks for annual report on Church’s efforts to prevent abuse

Pope Francis meets members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors at the Vatican, April 29, 2022. / Vatican Media.

Vatican City, Apr 29, 2022 / 07:30 am (CNA).

Pope Francis has asked the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors to produce an annual report on what the Catholic Church is doing around the world to prevent the abuse of minors and vulnerable adults.

In an audience at the Vatican on April 29, the pope called on the commission to produce the annual audit to promote “transparency and accountability.”

“This might be difficult at the beginning, but I ask you to begin where necessary, in order to furnish a reliable account on what is presently being done and what needs to change, so that the competent authorities can act,” he said.

“This report will be a factor of transparency and accountability and – I hope – will provide a clear audit of our progress in this effort. Without that progress, the faithful will continue to lose trust in their pastors, and preaching and witnessing to the Gospel will become increasingly difficult.”

Father Andrew Small, the secretary of the commission, responded positively to the pope’s request for the report at a press conference following the papal audience.

“Verifiable data has to be at the heart of rebuilding trust,” Small said.

“The idea of a report has been clearly working in the financial sector. Doing this in the safeguarding sector seems to be the only way to rebuild trust.”

The commission’s report will not deal with specific cases, but will provide details on the status of safeguarding policies and procedures, according to Small. This will include how effectively guidelines are being implemented.

“The Holy Father is aware … that unless you are reporting on this, it’s very hard to know what’s been achieved, so he asked the commission to present an annual report on the status of safeguarding policies and procedures,” Small said.

“He wants a report on this and he said, ‘I want to see where things aren’t going well, so that they can be improved.’”

While noting that it will be ultimately up to the pope to decide whether the annual reports will be made public, the English priest said: “I can’t imagine a world in which the report would not be published.”

“The whole structure and tenor of the conversation was that there’ll be some public reckoning because he linked the report to the struggle to rebuild trust with the faithful. And he said if we’re not showing a record of trust, it’s going to be very difficult for us to do our primary work, which is to preach the Gospel.”

Under the new Vatican constitution, the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, created by Pope Francis in 2014, will be “established within the dicastery” currently known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

“Its task is to provide the Roman Pontiff with advice and counsel, and to propose the most appropriate initiatives for the protection of minors and vulnerable persons,” according to the apostolic constitution Praedicate evangelium (“Preach the Gospel”), which goes into effect in June.

In his speech to the commission, Pope Francis underlined that “abuse in any form is unacceptable.”

“The path to healing is a long and difficult one; it requires firm hope, hope in Christ who went to the Cross and even beyond the Cross,” he said.

“The risen Jesus bears, and will always bear, the marks of his Crucifixion on his glorified body. Those wounds tell us that God saves us not by passing over our sufferings but by passing through those sufferings, transforming them by the power of his love.”

“The healing power of the Holy Spirit does not disappoint; God’s promise of new life does not fail. We need but have faith in the risen Jesus and repose our lives in the wounds of his risen body.”

The pope urged the commission to assist bishops’ conferences in establishing centers where people who have experienced abuse can find “acceptance and an attentive hearing, and be accompanied in a process of healing and justice, as indicated in the motu proprio Vos estis lux mundi.”

Vos estis lux mundi (“You are the light of the world”) was issued by the pope following the Vatican’s abuse summit in 2019 after the Theodore McCarrick scandal became public.

The legislation presented a canonical plan to address the investigation of bishops accused of sexual abuse or coercion, or of interfering in the investigation of such conduct.

After the audience, Cardinal Seán O’Malley, the president of the commission for the protection of minors, said: “The Holy Father wants us to ensure that survivors receive a welcome and an open door when they appeal to the local church in their country.”

“Outreach to survivors needs to be a priority for every part of the church. We will be working on establishing survivor support services at the level of each national church according to the instructions found in Vos estis lux mundi.”

Juan Carlos Cruz, a survivor of clerical sexual abuse in Chile and a member of the pontifical commission, said he believed that the annual report was a good development because it would not only be a report on the bishops’ conferences around the world but also on the different dicasteries of the Roman Curia.

“So this mandate that we now have in this annual report … I think it’s something that is encouraging,” Cruz said.

“I thank the Holy Father for that because … I’ve heard people in the Curia, with all due respect, say, ‘Isn’t it enough? Haven’t we done enough already? Poor priests. Poor bishops.’ No.”

“We’re going to follow up till the bitter end,” he said.