Pope Francis has appointed Andrew Small, O.M.I., a 53-year-old English priest, as the secretary of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. The appointment is “pro tempore,” meaning his appointment is either temporary or, more likely, subject to change or development.
Father Small, a talented organizer, fundraiser and legal expert, succeeds Msgr. Robert Oliver, who returns to work in the Archdiocese of Boston after serving eight years as the secretary of the commission. The commission expressed its “heartfelt” thanks to Monsignor Oliver for his dedicated service over these years.
The Vatican broke the news on June 22. The commission said in a press statement that it was “excited” about the appointment and recalled Father Small “has worked in human rights advocacy, economic development across Africa and Latin America and the development of initiatives to increase funding for training in child protection throughout the Universal Church.”
It said he will bring this deep experience to his role as secretary.
“I am deeply honored to be called to serve the Holy Father and God’s people as secretary of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors,” said Father Small in reaction to the appointment. “Safeguarding the youth of our church and of our communities remains one of the most urgent priorities of the church today.”
“I look forward to doing my part to help rebuild trust in a church whose mission is to protect, support and love any and all, but especially those wounded by the church’s ministers,” he said. “The Lord will accompany us in the healing that lies ahead as we continue on this most important path of safeguarding.”