Irish Cardinal Notes Progress in Youth Protection

2,356 Laypeople Working as Child Safeguards

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MAYNOOTH, Ireland, MAY 18, 2010 ( Children are safer today in the Church in Ireland than they once were, affirmed the president of that country’s bishops’ conference, and those that harm minors are much less secure.

Cardinal Sean Brady, archbishop of Armagh, noted this in a statement, publicized Monday by the bishops’ conference, in which he responded to the annual report released by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland.

«This has been a year of extraordinary challenge,» he acknowledged, «with the publication of the Ryan Report and Murphy Report which made exceptional demands on the members and staff of the Board and the National Office.»

The prelate said that the report, publicized Monday, «will help to reassure everyone that while important challenges remain, the Catholic Church in Ireland has come a long way in addressing the failings of the past.»

He welcomed two «clear» conclusions of the report: «Firstly, that children should be safer today within the Church than they once were. Secondly, those that seek to harm children should feel much less secure.»

The cardinal also welcomed the news that «2,356 individuals have been trained and are now acting as child safeguarding representatives in parishes across the country, with coverage of all parishes to be achieved in the coming months.»

«This represents an extraordinary achievement by any standard and is a remarkable example of lay participation in the life and ministry of the Church,» he noted.


Cardinal Brady asserted: «There is no room for complacency.

«The tragic experience of the past reminds us that constant vigilance is needed as well as full adherence to robust, comprehensive and ongoing systems of accountability.»

He expressed his commitment to «building on the substantial progress made in child safeguarding in recent years and to working to bring about the healing, repentance and renewal set out for the Church in Ireland by Pope Benedict XVI.»

«I am fully committed to the path that as a Church we must take to the truth that will set us free,» the prelate added.

He outlined several concrete manifestations of this commitment, such as his request to the Holy See to include his diocese in an upcoming apostolic visitation.

As well, the cardinal affirmed that he will be hiring a full-time director of Child Safeguarding for the diocese, «who will have responsibility for handling all future suspicions and allegations of child abuse, for reporting directly to the civil authorities, North and South, and for supporting all parishes and diocesan organisations in ensuring compliance with civil obligations and Church policies in this area.»

He added that he asked Benedict XVI for «additional support for my work, at an episcopal level,» to «assist me in addressing the vital work of healing, repentance and renewal, including engagement with survivors of abuse.»

Cardinal Brady concluded, «As a fellow pilgrim, searching with the whole community of faith for a clear way forward, I will do all I can to help sow the seeds for a genuine healing and renewal in the Church which, for so many of us, is our family and our home.»

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