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A man in a Roman collar bows his head in prayerJesuit Father Hans Zollner, a leading expert on child protection, prays during a summit on the protection of minors in the church at the Vatican Feb. 23, 2019. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

ROME (CNS)—Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, papal vicar for Rome, announced Jesuit Father Hans Zollner will be a consultant for the Diocese of Rome’s office dedicated to safeguarding minors and vulnerable people.

“I am committed to listening to survivors and to promoting education and formation in the field of safeguarding, and look forward to continuing to do so in this new role,” the German priest said in a written statement March 3, the same day of the announcement.

“It is my hope that this new endeavor with the Diocese of Rome, as well as my continuing role as director of the Institute of Anthropology, will further the mission of making the world a safer place for children and vulnerable persons,” he said.

Pope Francis created the office dedicated to safeguarding minors and vulnerable people earlier this year when he overhauled the Vicariate of Rome.

“I am committed to listening to survivors and to promoting education and formation in the field of safeguarding, and look forward to continuing to do so in this new role.”

Father Zollner, 56, said in his written statement that the creation of the office within the Diocese of Rome “is a testament to the fact that safeguarding must be a priority for all Catholic dioceses around the world.”

A licensed psychologist and psychotherapist, Father Zollner is director of the Institute of Anthropology: Interdisciplinary Studies on Human Dignity and Care at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University. He is a professor of at the university’s Institute of Psychology and a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

The changes to the Vicariate went into effect Jan. 31 in the new apostolic constitution, “In Ecclesiarum Communione” (”In the Communion of Churches”), which replaces the previous constitution, “Ecclesia in Urbe’’ (”The Church in the City’’), issued by St. John Paul II in 1988.

The vicariate, too, is called “to become more suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation” and to be at the service of a church that reaches out to everyone, evangelizing in word and deed, embracing human life and “touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others,” the pope wrote in a new papal instruction.

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