"Let us bow our heads in shame" because of the abuses "that have occurred in our Congregations and Orders and in our Church," the statement immediately affirms, which goes on to acknowledge how often "the answer of those in authority was not what it should have been."
For this reason the leaders of religious life in the world hope that during the meeting in the Vatican "new steps can be identified and decisions taken", and they commit themselves to "listening to the survivors better", to implement that which will be decided and to follow the Holy Father, whose guide is defined as "fundamental."
In general, the religious identify the need for a "culture of Protection, or Care", to be pursued in every area:
- in education and health care, where better protocols and higher standards of protection for minors are already in place;
- in formation, ensuring that at every stage adequate education and instruction are given to both formators and those in formation, and that it is clear in any culture and context, that "child abuse is never allowed and is not tolerable";
- in spirituality, taking on the commitment to develop "special programs to accompany every person who is a victim of abuse, who wants to find help in the difficulty with faith and with the meaning of life."
By identifying some roots of the problem in clericalism, in the abuse of power and in the misunderstood sense of belonging to the congregations, the religious commit to continuous conversion, and intend to pool resources and skills to be more effective.
The religious also invoke the collaboration of parents and women; and in closing, a message is directly addressed to the survivors: "we recognize that there was an inadequate attempt to tackle this problem and a shameful inability to understand your pain. We offer you our sincerest apologies and our pain ... We invite you to work with us to create new structures to ensure that risks are kept to a minimum."
The complete message is available, in English and Italian, on the site dedicated to the event.