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Pope backs multi-faith efforts to eradicate child sexual abuse

Participants at an International Symposium on strategies for preventing and healing child sexual abuse receive a message of encouragement and gratitude from Pope Francis.

In a message to religious leaders, scholars and experts from various fields participating in the international Symposium “Faith and Flourishing: Strategies for Preventing and Healing Child Sexual Abuse”, Pope Francis expressed his support and hope for the eradication what he described as “a profound evil.”

The three-day symposium is a landmark event organized by Harvard University in partnership with the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and the Catholic University of America.

It kicked-off on April 8th, the day organizers hope will soon become the World Day of Child Sexual Abuse Prevention, Healing and Justice.

In his message to participants, the Pope expressed his trust that “by bringing together Religious Leaders, Scholars, and experts from various fields in order to share research, clinical and pastoral experiences and best practices, the Symposium will contribute to a greater awareness of the gravity and extent of child sexual abuse and promote more effective cooperation at every level of society in eradicating this profound evil.”

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Pope Francis: Too much exclusion for a world in which all are equal

In a letter addressed to the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund, Pope Francis noted that over the last year, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, "our world has been forced to confront a series of grave and interrelated socio-economic, ecological and political crises".

As the groups meet this spring, the Pope stresses that it is his hope that their discussions may contribute to a model of 'recovery' capable of generating new, more inclusive, and sustainable solutions to support the real economy, assisting individuals and communities to achieve their deepest aspirations and the universal common good.

Pope Francis went on to note that "for all our deeply-held convictions that all men and women are created equal, many of our brothers and sisters in the human family, especially those at the margins of society, are effectively excluded from the financial world". The pandemic, he continued, has reminded us that "no one is saved alone". "If we are to come out of this situation as a better, more humane, and solidary world," he said, "new and creative forms of social, political and economic participation must be devised, sensitive to the voice of the poor and committed to including them in the building of our common future", through inclusive projects.

The Pope then noted that many countries are now consolidating a recovery plan for Covid, but that "there remains an urgent need for a global plan that can create new or regenerate existing institutions, particularly those of global governance, and help to build a new network of international relations for advancing the integral human development of all peoples". This, he explained, means giving poorer and less developed nations an effective share in decision-making and facilitating access to the international market.

He continued, "Central to a just and integrated development is a profound appreciation of the essential objective and end of all economic life, namely the universal common good: Public money should never be disjoined from the public good, and financial markets should be underpinned by laws and regulations aimed at ensuring that they truly work for the common good".

Bringing his letter to a close, the Pope said that it is time to acknowledge that markets do not govern themselves. "Markets need to be underpinned by laws and regulations that ensure they work for the common good, guaranteeing that finance works for the societal goals so much needed in the context of the present global healthcare emergency."

Finally, the Pope expressed his hope that in these days of formal deliberations and personal encounters, the two organisations with "bear much fruit from the discernment of wise solutions for a more inclusive and sustainable future. A future where finance is at the service of the common good, where the vulnerable and the marginalized are placed at the centre, and where the earth, our common home, is well cared for".
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