OTTAWA, Ontario, APRIL 15, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The Canadian bishops’ conference is noting success in its efforts to protect children from abuse by clergy and others in Church settings.
In a statement Tuesday, the conference responded to an Ipsos Reid opinion poll published that day, which reported results from a survey of 1,000 Catholic and non-Catholic Canadians regarding sexual abuse and the Church.
The statement noted that the bishops are “very encouraged” by the fact that the youngest age group in the sample, of people 18-34 years old, was “significantly less likely to say they personally knew someone who had been abused by a Catholic priest.”
“This indicates that the efforts by the bishops of Canada have been largely successful,” it added.
The prelates “remain totally committed to a zero-tolerance policy and continue to improve their practices and protocols,” the statement affirmed.
It noted that the bishops are “firmly resolved, with the help of experts from many fields, to continue to improve their preventive protocols, as they have since 1989 when committee work began on the recommendations later published in 1992 as part of ‘From Pain to Hope.'”
The poll showed that there is “serious concern on the part of Canadians and Catholics about the sexual abuse by members of the clergy.”
“The Catholic bishops of Canada share that concern,” the conference affirmed.
It underlined the regret, however, that the survey questioners did not ask Catholics about their knowledge of what the bishops have done “to prevent cases of sexual abuse and to respond to concerns of sexual abuse.”
Nonetheless, whether or not Catholics are informed about the efforts of the bishops, the conference noted that “it is comforting to see” that almost half of the Catholics surveyed indicated “their satisfaction with the Catholic Church in routing out pedophiles.”
It also affirmed that it is “encouraged by the fact that 80% of all Catholics understand that only a minor percentage of the clergy are pedophiles.”
The statement pointed out: “A cursory reading of the results could lead one to conclude that the Catholic Church has a bigger problem with the issue of sexual abuse than any other segment of society.
“This is incorrect. Experts say that there is no data to support such a claim at all.”
Citing a Newsweek article, the conference noted that child abusers have been found in many forms, not only priests, ministers and rabbis, but also “family members, friends, neighbors, teachers, coaches, scout leaders, youth-group volunteers, and doctors.”
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On the Net:
Full text of statement: http://www.cccb.ca/site/content/view/2779/1217/lang,eng/