Bishops approve plans to deal with accusations of sexual assault and help abuse victims
The Catholic Herald
Canada’s bishops are finalising new policies to better protect minors against sex abuse.
At their annual plenary in Cornwall, the bishops approved, in principle, a new document on preventing sexual abuse and protecting minors, “Moving Towards Healing and Renewal – The Canadian Experience.” The document offers some guidelines to help the dioceses better manage allegations of sex abuse by members of the clergy, as well as to contribute to the healing of the victims of abuse by priests or men religious.
Archbishop Anthony Mancini of Halifax-Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, who heads the bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on the Protection of Minors, said the new document updates the Canadian bishops’ 1992 document, “From Pain to Hope,” and aligns the bishops with standards put out by the Vatican.
Bishop Douglas Crosby of Hamilton, Ontario, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, said experience in this area “is so much broader now and so much deeper. This will present a lot more information along the lines of ‘From Pain to Hope,’ but updated.”
Bishops now have a chance to review the text and send in suggestions and corrections. Bishop Crosby said he expects that if no major changes are required, the document will be approved in November at the next meeting of the CCCB’s Permanent Council and published in early 2017.
Archbishop Mancini said the new document adopts a new perspective: It is designed to implement guidelines to protect minors against abuse. That change of tone and language is aligned to “a better understanding of the realities,” he said.
“It’s not a document against sex abuse. It a document that sets out the protection of minors as an essential responsibility for the bishops, as church leaders and witnesses of the Gospel,” he said.
The document includes a section on the responsibilities of religious and their superiors when it comes to implementing policies to protect minors against abuse, the archbishop said.
“We’ve set out recommendations so that the major superiors and the bishops may be able to interact (more effectively) with the religious congregations,” he said.
The bishops’ 1992 document was published in the aftermath of the Mount Cashel Boys Home sex scandal. Located in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and managed by members of the Christian Brothers congregation, that orphanage was the site of one of worst sex-abuse scandals in Canadian history. Nine members and ex-members of the congregation were convicted of sexual and physical aggressions against their students.
In the past two years, the courts have settled numerous class-act action suits against religious congregations, in the aftermath of sex-abuse scandals involving priests or men religious.
In August 2015, 111 former students of the Saint-Alphonse Seminary in Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre, Quebec, filed a class-act action against the Redemptorist Fathers for sexual aggressions perpetrated by members of the congregation. The court settled a $14 million agreement against the Redemptorists, on the behalf of the victims. In February, a settlement was reached between the Viatorians and their victims, for sexual aggressions perpetrated at Montreal’s Institute for the Deaf. Though the exact number of victims is still unknown, Judge Eva Petras of Quebec’s Superior Court has approved a $30 million settlement, a record amount for a sexual aggression class-action suit.
30 September 2016
Moving Towards Healing and Renewal – The Canadian Experience
The Bishops gave approval in principle to a new resource which provides guidelines, recommendations and commitments which will assist dioceses, eparchies and institutes of consecrated life in the protection of minors and the prevention of sexual abuse, Tentatively entitled Moving Towards Healing and Renewal – The Canadian Experience, the document once completed will provide a complete resource that will be of interest to all Catholics, and includes recommendations regarding all pastoral workers as well as Church volunteers. It recommends a mechanism of accountability to assist in the protection of minors, the safeguarding of pastoral environments, and the prevention of sexual abuse, and also reflects on the healing of those who have been hurt, including both individual victims and communities.
The new document is expected to be published in the first half of 2017. The Ad hoc Committee which worked on the new resource includes Bishops, two psychologists and a paediatrician (the paediatrician and one of the psychologists are women with extensive experience in working with situations of abuse), and also two canonists. The Committee involves representatives from consecrated life and also from the Eastern Churches. The five Bishops on it have extensive experience in working with the range of problems involved with sexual abuse.
CCCB to publish new sex abuse document
The B.C. Catholic
Wednesday, 05 October 2016 07:20
Bishops will begin making ad limina visits to Rome in 2017
By Deborah Gyapong
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) will release a new sexual abuse document in early 2017 and makes its first ad limina visits to Rome in 11 years starting in March.
At their annual plenary Sept. 26-30 in Cornwall, Ontario, the more than 80 bishops and eparchs approved in principle a new document on preventing sexual abuse and protecting minors called Moving Towards Healing-The Canadian Experience.
It will follow but not replace the 1992 document From Pain to Hope, said Bishop Douglas Crosby of Hamilton, the CCCB president. “Our experience is so much broader now and so much deeper. This will present a lot more information along the lines of From Pain to Hope but updated.”
Bishops will now have a chance to review the text and send in suggestions and corrections. Bishop Crosby said he expects that if not major changes are required, the document will be approved in November at the next meeting of the CCCB’s Permanent Council and published in early 2017.
The bishops are also discussing the establishment of a new coalition of Catholic organizations with the proposed name of Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle, Crosby said. “There seems to be some interest in it, but there needs to be clarification of purpose and direction.”
The idea sprang from the joint-response of the CCCB, the Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council (CCAC), the Canadian Religious Conference, and the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace to the March deadline for the churches’ response to some of the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
“One of things we’ve discovered, the Catholic voice is broader voice,” Bishop Crosby said. “How do we gather the various interests in expressing the Catholic response to these issues.”