Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors renewed

Pope Francis has renewed the mandate of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors two months after the Commission became inactive.

During his recent trip to South America, Pope Francis addressed concerns about the expiry of the Commission’s mandate, saying the time taken to nominate members to the body was normal.

He has reappointed eight of the previous Pontifical Commission members added nine new members. Six former members have not been reappointed.

The Commission’s 16 members (eight men and eight women) will be led by Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston as its president.

Msgr. Robert Oliver of Boston will be its secretary.

The Commission has released a statement saying some of its members are abuse survivors. They have not yet publicly identified themselves.

The Commission says it “believes that their privacy in this matter is to be respected.”


The nine new members of the commission come from a diverse set of places, including: Ethiopia, India, Tonga, Brazil, Australia and the Netherlands.

The new members are:

  • Benyam Mezmur, who teaches law at Ethiopia’s Dullah Omar Institute;
  • Teresa Kettelkamp, a former executive director of the U.S. bishops’ secretariat of child and youth protection
  • Religious of Jesus and Mary Sr. Arina Gonsalves, a vice provincial for her order in India;
  • Neville Owen, a former senior judge of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Western Australia;
  • Sinaelelea Fe’ao, coordinator of religious education for the Tonga and Niue diocese;
  • Myriam Wijlens, a canon law professor at the University of Erfurt in Germany;
  • Ernesto Caffo, a professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at Italy’s University of Modena and Reggio Emilia;
  • Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood Sr. Jane Bertelsen, her order’s congregational leader; and,
  • Nelson Giovanelli, founder of a Brazilian drug rehabilitation center.


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News category: World.

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