BY Ian Dunn | February 13 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Vatican expert advises on safeguarding

The bishops of Scotland have met with a leading Vatican exert on prevention of clergy abuse of children as part of their efforts to learn from past cases and continue to develop best practice.

Mgr Robert Oliver travelled to Salamanca in Spain to address the bishops during an in-service session at the end of January. Bishop Joseph Toal of Motherwell said it was part of the bishop’s desire to ‘demonstrate to survivors a willingness to listen and an expression of understanding in the context of carefully prepared personal meetings.’

“The Catholic Church in Scotland is committed to learning from past mistakes, developing best practice and allowing external scrutiny of our work,” he said. “The priority principle must be assistance to the victims of abuse.”

Pope Francis appointed Mgr Oliver as the new secretary of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors last year. The Pope established the commission to advise him directly and to propose initiatives to encourage local responsibility within the Church.

Mgr Oliver told the bishops of Scotland that the Church had failed victims of abuse in the past.

“We did not listen to victims and underestimated the extent of the problem; we missed red flags and warning signs; we were conned by many offenders; and, believed often with professional advice that some offenders could be returned to ministry,” he said.

Bishop Toal said he was moved by the session and the bishop’s decision to focus on survivors of abuse was in preparation for Dr McLellan’s report into safeguarding ‘which we expect to receive in the first half this year and whose recommendations we have undertaken to accept and publish’.




—Read the full version of this story in the February 13 edition of the SCO in parishes from Friday.


Pic: Tom Eadie. Bishop Joseph Toal at the dedication and blessing of those who share the Ministry of Safeguarding and Evening Prayer that took place in Our Lady of Good Aid Cathedral earlier this month


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