Reformed the Center for the Protection of Minors

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Hans Zollner
Hans Zollner

Hans Zollner spoke about the upcoming changes.

Olga Sakun – Vatican City

The Center for the Protection of Minors, established at the Pontifical Gregorian University in 2012, has been transformed into the Institute for Anthropology and Interdisciplinary Research on Human Dignity and Care for Vulnerable Persons. This decision was made by the academic leadership and confirmed by the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education. The director of the new institute, Priest Hans Zollner, a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, explained in an interview with Vatican News why this decision was made and what its consequences are.

This is not only about renaming the institution, Zollner noted, but also about its very essence. It now has its own teaching staff and can independently award academic degrees.

The focus of the Center for the Protection of Minors has focused primarily on children, but over the past four years, public opinion and the attention of the church authorities have significantly shifted towards the so-called vulnerable adults. The new institute will work not only with violence against minors, but also with spiritual abuse in the context of spiritual leadership, with abuse of nuns; special attention will be paid to the responsibility of monastic superiors where such violations occur.

The institute will continue to collaborate with episcopal conferences and rectors of institutes for the consecrated life. His leadership now sets goals such as cooperation with other religions, as well as interdisciplinary cooperation to prevent abuse.

The Institute offers three programs: the first is distance learning for international organizations; the second, a six-month educational course in English and Spanish for the staff of dioceses and monastic congregations; the third program is an academic course corresponding to the second university cycle of the Pontifical Universities, after which a licentiate degree is awarded. In addition, an academic degree in anthropology is planned after a special interdisciplinary course.

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