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By Phil Lawler, CatholicCulture.org, Dec 19, 2017
As of yesterday, the Pope’s special commission on sexual abuse formally ceased to exist.
The Commission for the Protection of Minors was established by Pope Francis in 2013, for a four-year term that began on December 17 of that year. That term has now officially expired.
Vatican-watchers fully expect that Pope Francis will extend the group’s mandate (or, at this point, renew it)—although nobody knows whether or not he will renew the terms of the current members. And the group wasn’t likely to hold meetings during the Christmas season anyway, so no real harm has been done by allowing the group’s formal authority to lapse.
Nevertheless, at a time when an Australian royal commission is lambasting the Catholic Church for its handling of abuse complaints, it’s noteworthy that the Vatican has not announced the timely renewal of the papal commission. Is this just one more sign of the chaotic management style now prevailing at the Holy See? Or is it, more ominously, another sign that despite all the promises about making the issue a top priority, when it comes to the actual working of the papal commission, nobody at the Vatican is paying attention?