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.”
Organizers explain the event is a first-of-a-kind as it stems from the realization that the best way to tackle child sexual abuse prevention and healing is through an active and ongoing synergy between public health care professionals and faith-based leaders and communities.
That’s why scholars, public health and mental health care professionals, child abuse prevention experts, and religious leaders of diverse faith traditions are sharing experience and resources as the best possible way to identify strategies to prevent child sexual abuse and foster healing for survivors of abuse in their communities.
Men and women of different backgrounds and histories have thus been asked to tell their stories, encouraging others to engage with different realities in the firm commitment that all vulnerable people have a right to be protected and that individuals and societies can only benefit from a holistic approach that takes physical, psychological and spiritual needs into due consideration.