BY Martin Dunlop | November 25 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

5-QUEEN-ELIZABETH

Church focus on healing and prayer

— Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales announces new resolutions and prayer for queen

The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has approved a number of new resolutions including working with survivors of abuse to ensure the Church can do all it can towards healing and a prayer for Queen Elizabeth II, the first in the modern history of the Church.

At the Bishops’ Conference plenary, held in Leeds last week, the Catholic leaders said that ‘we seek to fulfil the injunction of Pope Benedict on his visit to the UK last year.’

“Survivors of abuse who come to the Church for pastoral help rightly expect to be welcomed and listened to, and to be understood and supported,” the bishops said. “As bishops, we acknowledge this has not been adequately developed as an integral part of our safeguarding work.”

Safeguarding

The bishops noted that, during his visit to the UK last September, Pope Benedict XVI said: “Our first interest is for the victims: how can we repair the damage done? What can we do to help them overcome this trauma, to regain their life and rediscover confidence in the message of Christ? Care, commitment to victims is the first priority, with material, psychological, spiritual aid.”

At the bishops’ meeting a verbal report was received from the National Council Safeguarding Commission (NCSC), an independent body established by the Bishops’ Conference to monitor and audit the compliance of the Church with safeguarding procedures.

“We are very grateful to the NCSC and our agency, the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service, for the continuing discussions which have been taking place with a number of survivor organisations,” the bishops said. “Listening to that experience, and learning from each other’s work with survivors, we seek to fulfil the injunction of Pope Benedict on his visit to the UK last year… We strongly encourage the NCSC to continue developing a ‘Care Pathway’ for victims and survivors, which will help to ensure that the Church responds appropriately and sensitively to their needs at every stage.

“We have also asked the NCSC to continue their work on developing guidance to dioceses and religious orders on how best to ensure the Church can act pastorally to care for victims without compromising the legal rights and freedoms of all involved. The care of survivors remains a priority for all of us.”

Other themes

Also discussed at the Bishops’ Conference meeting was next year’s diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II (left) in England and Wales. At Masses on Sunday June 3 next year, parishes in England and Wales will celebrate a Mass with prayers to commemorate the diamond jubilee and a prayer for the queen, approved by the bishops, will be read.

The prayer for the queen’s jubilee marks the first time in modern history that bishops have approved a prayer for the monarch to be used in Catholic churches.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, unveiled the new prayer last Friday. The prayer will be accompanied by a reading of 1 Kings 3 11-14, a passage of the Old Testament in which God praises the wisdom of Solomon and promises him honour above all other kings.

Further areas and themes discussed at the Bishops’ Conference meeting included: deepening social engagement and the development of Caritas, fair funding for Catholic schools and the Eucharistic Congress 2012 in Dublin.

— martin@sconews.co.uk

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