Anglophone Prelates Strategize to Stop Child Abuse

Underline Church’s Commitment to Work Against Violations

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 8, 2009 ( Participants in an episcopal conference convened to discuss child abuse scandals acknowledged the Church’s commitment to put an end to these violations against minors.

The 10th Anglophone Conference held in the Vatican last week brought together bishops, religious and laypeople to focus on the problem of violence against minors in the Church, L’Osservatore Romano reported.
<br>The theme is especially relevant given the recent publication of a government report in Ireland detailing a history of various abuses committed against children in correctional institutions financed by the state, but in most cases run by Catholic religious orders.
Bishop Blase Cupich of Rapid City, South Dakota, president of the Commission for the Protection of Children and Young People of the U.S. bishops’ conference, stated: «This meeting has given the participants the opportunity to consult with Vatican officials, to meet experts in the field of children’s safety and to share progress and problems with other bishops’ conferences.»
He added, «We are all agreed that you need a comprehensive plan for prevention, support and healing,» Catholic News Service reported.

The annual conferences began in the 1990s as an informal network of English-speaking prelates who wanted to gather in order to share strategies for fighting abuse.

«The Anglophone Conference helps people working for the Church find ways to create an environment in which anyone who has been abused can come forward with confidence,» Bishop Cupich explained.
He continued, «It is a human issue, a human problem, although it is reported more in the English-speaking world, maybe because of a unique openness in communicating» about abuse.
This year’s conference included delegates from Australian, England and Wales, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Scotland and the United States. Representatives from Italy, Chile and Ghana also participated.

The meeting, organized by the Scottish bishops’ conference focused on the theme «Looking forward: The Challenge Ahead» and was headed by Bishop John Cunningham of Galloway.
Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide, Australia, noted, «The positive fact is that people have come forward, that we have acknowledged this has been part of our history and are doing all we can to deal with the remnants of that and doing all that we can to make sure we have a new way of relating to one another in the Church.»
Monsignor Charles Scicluna, who handles cases brought against abusive priests for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, explained that «the Church’s understanding of the phenomenon and its programs to stop abuse are continually evolving.»

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