Pope Francis — “A society can be judged by the way it treats its children.”

Pope Francis, the leader of the world’s largest religion, denounced the proliferation of adult and child pornography on the internet. The Pope demanded better protections for children online. He made a historic declaration at the conclusion of the World Congress: Child Dignity in the Digital World on 6th October 2017. Whether you are religious or secular, a person of faith or none, The Declaration of Rome by Pope Francis has to be welcomed. The Reward Foundation supports it wholeheartedly. It is appropriate that the Vatican has  decided at last to face the issue of child abuse head on given its recent history. The full text of the announcement by Vatican Radio is here.

We are pleased to mention that many of the people the Reward Foundation works with worldwide participated in the congress leading to this important declaration. First is John Carr, a tireless defender of children’s rights and online protection. See his first hand report on the event here.  We are delighted to be able to say that we have spoken at the same conference as Professor Elizabeth Letourneau. She is mentioned in John’s article, on the subject of the prevention of online child sexual abuse.

Don Hilton

Another is Dr Don Hilton, (see photo) a neurosurgeon from Texas. Dr Hilton gave a paper explaining the impact of internet pornography on the brain both of adults and children. Don is a fellow board member with our CEO Mary Sharpe at the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health. Don was unable to attend the SASH annual conference taking place this year in Utah due to his presence in Rome. He reported to a member of the board however that the Pope really understands the porn issue. This includes the way porn creates brain changes and how it impacts on young people. This is extremely promising given the power and authority the Pope wields globally as a head of State and religious leader.

Other participants at the World Congress we have met and been inspired by include  Professor Ethel Quayle, a renowned psychology expert on the subject of combatting child sexual abuse.