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Child Protection to the Sunday Times
COMMENT TO THE SUNDAY TIMES
A spokesperson for Archbishop Timothy Costelloe said:
“In his letter of apology relating to child sex abuse in December 2013, Archbishop Costelloe mentioned a number of strategies he would embark upon to actively ensure that the Catholic Church becomes the safest place for children and young people.
“Among the steps taken since that time, Archbishop Costelloe has:
- overseen three days of seminars led by Ms Narelle McMahon, Protection and Prevention Officer from the Catholic Church’s National Committee for Professional Standards, who addressed and further educated over two hundred Catholic clergy, religiousand lay staff in the Archdiocese of Perth on the protection of minors and the practical steps that can be taken to prevent the abuse of children.
- recently drafted a policy paper that was distributed to senior personnel containing proposals that consider the appointment and training of Child Safeguarding Officers in parishes across the Archdiocese. Recommendations and feedback relating to this paper are still being received.
- examined and discussed with the Director of Catholic Education the policies and procedures of the Catholic Education Office as regards child protection matters.
- ensured the continuation of the highest professional psychological assessment of young men who come forward to become priests so as to best determine their suitability for priestly ministry.
- mandated ongoing formation programs to ensure that trainee priests mature psychologically, emotionally and spiritually.
- continued to consistently teach and offer ongoing formation to Archdiocesan clergy through his regular letters to clergy highlighting and explaining critical aspects relating to pastoral boundaries, the requirements of which are laid out in the Church’sTowards Healing protocols and Integrity in Ministry guidelines.
“Archbishop Costelloe is keen to act as swiftly as possible to bring to completion the above steps while ensuring that the strong protective and preventative measures already in place remain intact.
“He is conscious, however, that the final report and recommendations of the Royal Commission are likely to be some years away. He is also aware that the Catholic Church’s Truth Justice and Healing Council has only recently drafted an initial discussion paper as the first step of a consultation process on reforms to the way the Church nationally currently deals with the protection and safeguarding of children. This paper will be considered at a meeting of bishops and religious leaders in Sydney in May ready for broader consultation in the following months.
“Archbishop Costelloe is keen to move forward with all that needs to be done in the Archdiocese of Perth while being a part of any national policy being introduced by the Catholic bishops of Australia as a whole.
“The challenges remain many and yet the Archbishop is determined to do all he can to confront them and to bring about all necessary change.”
(Given on Thursday 17th April 2013)
Articles as they appeared in the Sunday Times in Sunday 20th April 2014: