On November 23, 2018, the Vatican Press Office announced the membership of the organizing committee for the meeting on the protection of minors in the Church, which will be be held in Rome next February, from the 21st to 24th. Fr. Hans Zollner was named contact person for the committee, and following the announcement tweeted: “The organising committee will meet soon and will gather input from the bishops conferences and the various dicasteries of the Holy See. We look forward to working together for a positive development in Church praxis on safeguarding.” The hashtag #PBC2019 is being used to designate the event on social media. L’Osservatore Romano followed with an article, “For the Protection of Children in the Church” (Per la protezione dei minori nella Chiesa) which details the scope of the meeting and who will be participating. Avvenire also published an article explaining the meeting will be preceded by a survey sent to all the invited participants.
Following the announcement, Vatican News featured an interview with Zollner, originally published in the Italian version of L’Osservatore Romano. When asked about the preparation phase, he explained, “Information, reflections, the spirit of prayer and penance and proposals for new concrete action needs to be shared immediately.” He explained that his presence is also a link of continuity with the work done by the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors headed by Cardinal Sean O’Malley. He emphasized that the Holy Father is concerned that the meeting be, “free, without conditions, animated by prayer and by a spirit of parresia (frankness, boldness)”.
Zollner went on to stress the importance of a spirit of unity for the meeting, citing St. Paul, “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it.” Adding, “We suffer together, and together, with the Lord’s help, we must find the cure.”