Emphasising the responsibility of all Catholics to ensure the Church is a safe place, the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors is inviting public comment on a proposed set of principles that Church bodies must reflect in their safeguarding guidelines. Source: NCR Online.
Distribution of the draft “Universal Guidelines Framework” was approved by members of the commission at their meeting in May. The framework begins by calling Church leaders to “acknowledge and take ownership of their moral, pastoral and governance responsibilities to work for the creation of a ‘one Church approach’ to safeguarding”.
The principles, though, insisted guidelines must be tailor-made for different countries and their cultures. And, it said, they should include processes for “regular internal review and external audit procedures”.
The framework was sent to the world’s bishops’ conferences, the heads of religious orders and survivors of abuse for review. But on Friday, the commission also launched a period of public comment, inviting anyone interested to use a survey on the commission’s website.
Commission president Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston explained in May that the universal framework is meant to update the principles that informed the circular letter by the then-Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2011, which requires bishops conferences to draft guidelines for dealing with allegations of clerical sexual abuse.
After consultation “in a spirit of synodality,” he said, he hoped the updated framework could be released at the end of 2023.
The commission website said that “while the core principles should apply everywhere, the way those principles manifest themselves will likely differ from one place to another. All Church entities will be obliged to ensure their local safeguarding guidelines reflect the general principles” when they are adopted.
Papal commission seeks public input on safeguarding principles (By Cindy Wooden, CNS via NCR Online)