Thursday, February 26, 2009

Protecting our children (Contribution)

ONCE again, the Archbishop of Dublin is not happy about the protection of children.

The Catholic Church's National Board for the Safeguarding of Children (NBSC) has reported that "procedures are now in place" in the diocese of Cloyne.

It will be remembered that, before Christmas, Bishop John Magee's handling of cases of abuse of children in the diocese was criticised in very strong terms by the NBSC.

The bishop had rejected calls for his retirement, or resignation, from victims' groups, public representatives and priests.

The minister with responsibility for children ordered a fresh investigation.

Despite the NBSC assurance that clerics who fail to blow the whistle on suspected paedophile priests will be reported to the gardai and the HSE, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin still believes more work is needed to ensure that the extent of clerical child abuse is fully investigated.

He is not the only one puzzled by the NBSC finding that some dioceses are more rigorous in examining allegations than required by civil guidelines or church standards.

If there are no limits to the need to protect children from clerical abusers, how can limits be exceeded?

The support group, One In Four, has questioned the efficacy of a self monitoring service, pointing out that the acceptance of guidelines is one thing, their robust implementation is another.

If children are to be truly safe, and their rights enshrined in the Constitution, as many people are urging, it will achieve little unless individuals learn to accept true responsibility for their actions.

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Sotto Voce

(Source: II)