The mission to assist local Churches was entrusted to our Commission by Pope Francis. Our Holy Father established the PCPM as "an advisory body" tasked with “promoting local responsibility in the particular Churches.” (Statutes, art. 1 §§1-2).
We have been asked specifically to offer our assistance to local Churches as they implement the 2011 Circular Letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith regarding “Guidelines” for the protection of minors. Pope Francis wrote to the Presidents of Episcopal Conferences and Conferences of Major Superiors:
"I now ask for your close and complete cooperation with the Commission for the Protection of Minors. The work I have entrusted to them includes providing assistance to you and your Conferences through an exchange of best practices and through programmes of education, training, and developing adequate responses to sexual abuse" - Circular Letter, 2 February 2015.
In this same letter the Holy Father stated that the Commission:
“can be a new, important and effective means for helping me to encourage and advance the commitment of the Church at every level – Episcopal Conferences, Dioceses, Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and others – to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure the protection of minors and vulnerable adults." - Circular Letter, 2 February 2015.
For this work, the Commission Members have developed a Template for local Guidelines. Its purpose is to help Conferences of Bishops and of Religious to develop and to implement effective policies, procedures, and programs for the protection of minors and vulnerable adults. These Guidelines are based on the 2011 Circular Letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and on the work already undertaken by many Conferences.