As you may remember, last week I was in Rome for a conference on child protection in Catholic education at the Gregorian University, which was held on Thursday (3/23).
Following the conference, I remained in Rome for our plenary assembly of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, which ran from Friday until Sunday.
Among the many issues we discussed was, of course, the resignation of commission member Marie Collins, as this was our first plenary gathering since she decided to step down.
We are so grateful that Marie is willing to continue to assist us in our ongoing education efforts and the commission discussed a number of ways to ensure that the experiences of clergy abuse victims continue to inform and shape our work.
We also discussed the ongoing issue of the Holy See providing prompt and appropriate responses to correspondence from clergy abuse victims. While we understand that there may be some challenges to accomplishing this, nevertheless we remain committed to solving this problem. The commission is considering several ideas that we will submit to the Holy Father for his approval.
Church of St. Louis
The meetings of the commission were held at the Paolo VI Residence in Rome, and right next-door is the Church of St. Luigi di Francia (perhaps better known by most as St. Louis de France), which I had a chance to visit during our midday break on Saturday. The church is just stunning.
It is noted particularly for the three paintings by Caravaggio that hang there, all of which deal with the life of St. Matthew, including the "The Calling of St. Matthew," which so inspired Pope Francis. In it we see Christ pointing at St. Matthew as he sits at the tax collector's table clutching his money, calling Matthew to get up and follow him. Matthew, as a tax collector for the Romans, would have been considered the very worst kind of person, a traitor to his own people. As we know, St. Matthew listened to the call, left the table and became an Apostle.
The Holy Father has said he would often contemplate this image of one who is a sinner but who is looked at with mercy by Christ, and it led him to pick as his episcopal motto, and then papal motto, "Miserando atque Eligendo," (Having mercy and choosing him).
Meeting with Superiors of Men Religious
Wednesday (3/29), I was back in Boston and we had one of our regular gatherings with the Major Superiors of Men Religious in the archdiocese. It's always a wonderful opportunity to be able to be together with them, hear about some of the recent activities of the different orders, and share ideas and common concerns.
...We are so grateful to Sister Marian Batho for organizing these gatherings and for all that she does in her important work as our Delegate for Religious.
Meeting with recently ordained
Thursday (3/30), I also gathered with our recently ordained priests at the Pastoral Center. We began with lunch followed by a time of discussion and we also heard an address by Father Hehir on the topic of immigration. As we always do, we concluded our gathering with a Holy Hour in Bethany Chapel.