Pope Francis. AFP

Pope Francis on Friday revealed the organizing team for a special meeting on the protection of children to be held in February.

The Vatican in a statement released by its spokesman Greg Burke said that the action is in response to the pedophilia scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church worldwide.

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His hand-picked team is all close associates: the archbishop of Malta Charles Scicluna, Father Hans Zollner, US cardinal Blase Cupich and Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias.

Archbishop Scicluna spent 10 years as a Vatican prosecutor investigating cases of pedophilia among the priesthood.

Zollner, a Jesuit priest, is an academic and psychotherapist who has traveled widely as part of his work in child protection. He is already part of the committee of experts advising the pope on the issue.

“The February meeting is unprecedented, and one that shows Pope Francis has made the protection of minors a fundamental priority for the Church.

“This is about keeping children safe from harm worldwide. Pope Francis wants Church leaders to have a full understanding of the devastating impact that clerical sexual abuse has on victims,” said Vatican spokesman Greg Burke.

Two women with senior positions inside the Vatican will also help organize the event and survivors of abuse will have a role, he said. The event will run from February 21 to 24.

“The meeting is primarily one for bishops – and they have much of the responsibility for this grave problem,” said Burke.