Safeguarding Children in the Church Universal focuses on the work of the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University and the work of one priest, Fr. Hans Zollner, SJ, whose mission it is to promote the dignity of every child and vulnerable adult and to advance safeguarding measures throughout the Roman Catholic Church Universal - in every culture and in every region on the planet.
Safeguarding in the Church Universal is the second of three broadcast episodes in A GLOBAL CONTEXT module, in which we look beyond the Catholic Church in the United States to help distinguish challenges and progress in a contemporary, regional Church in the United States from failures related to abuse in the Church Universal.
Gain working knowledge of global issues, obstacles, and approaches in promoting child safety in the Universal Church
1: Across the Globe: The Advance of Human Rights in the Digital Age
2: Safeguarding in the Church Universal
3: A Brief History of Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church
SAFEGUARDING IN THE CHURCH UNIVERSAL
Promoting Dignity and Protection for Children and Vulnerable Adults
in Every Region, Every Culture on the Planet
The Centre for Child Protection promotes safeguarding in every region and culture on the planet, reaching out with training and resources and gathering wisdom from all corners of the world.
It's one thing to say that the Centre for Child Protection reaches every region and culture on the globe. It's another to compile a travel journal by looking at just some of its workshops.
The Centre for Child Protection of the Pontifical Gregorian University located in the Piazza della Pilotta, close to the Trevi Fountain, in Rome) is committed to raising awareness of abuse and to promoting best practices for protecting the safety of children and vulnerable adults in the Roman Catholic Church and in societies around the globe.
The CCP partners with institutions worldwide to provide men and women with the training needed to promote and implement safeguarding measures in their countries by a blended learning program and workshops on-site or in Rome, participating in research projects, and supporting the development of prevention structures in institutions.
This interdisciplinary and interactive five-month program forms advisors, officers, and trainers for the field of safeguarding.
This multidisciplinary, two-year program helps scholars promote child safeguarding practices in their country of origin or ministry.
The CCP can bring together experience and expertise from every corner of the world, like this one in 2017.
In this CCP program, online resources are combined with face-to-face classroom sessions organized by local institutions
A German Jesuit, Fr. Zollner is the President of the Centre for Child Protection of the Pontifical Gregorian University. In this role, he travels the world (70 countries, and counting) training bishops, clergy, and other ministries in best practices for child protection and the protection of vulnerable adults.
Fr. Zollner also serves as a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and as a consultor of the Congregation for Clergy. Fr. Zollner has a doctoral degree in theology, is a psychologist and licensed psychotherapist, and is particularly interested in human formation in the training of seminarians and religious worldwide. He is a friend to Spirit Fire survivors from many countries.
Fr. Zollner's article, “The Spiritual Wounds of Sexual Abuse,” was translated and published in English in La Civilta Cattolica. As is his work, this article is a clear and powerful statement of Fr. Zollner and the CCP's approach to child protection. It is practical, honest and deeply caring with a keen sense of history and cultural impact. In one of the best articles we've found on the dynamics behind the crisis, Fr. Zollner explores how predatory priests have been able to abuse any vulnerable person – child or adult. He details the contributing factors in how abuse has been able to flourish in the Church. This article is a clear assessment of the pitfalls that foster abuse and best practices promoting change.
It’s worth the read. Here's a preview:
The battle against sexual abuse will last for a while, so we must not delude ourselves into thinking that the solution simply lies in introducing new rules and guidelines. What is needed is a radical conversion and a decisive attitude to render justice to the victims and to make sure it never happens again. The message of the God of Jesus Christ is the source and strength of our efforts and for our continual reflection on the core of the Gospel: because God loves the little ones and the vulnerable most of all….
Speaking at Villanova University, Fr. Zollner explained with conviction and compassion that due to clergy sexual abuse:
...much damage has been done to the Church but more damage has been done to human beings.... many people are engaged in the same mission: a safer church and a safer world.
Questions for your personal journal and for discussions with others
You resign your job running the UN (see last week) because it's too stressful and, in retirement, decide to devote your many language skills to promote child safeguarding by working with the Church. Your first assignment lands you in a wealthy, stable, rural setting in sub-Saharan Africa where a girl may be wed as young as age ten as a practical way for a father to secure a her lifelong financial support. The child protection program you are presenting threatens what seems to locals like an obviously successful system, which insulates them from the economic and social tumult they see in neighboring areas, where, by the way, child marriage has been outlawed with success. Your hosts argue that, because you are from the West, you cannot possibly know what is a moral good for people with their unique set of circumstances. Admittedly, you can recognize compelling differences. Write the community your best effort to persuade them to change radically.
List all the reasons you think child abuse has occurred in the Church. Then, please read or reread Fr. Zollner's The Spirit Wounds of Child Abuse (above). What main factors does Fr. Zollner enumerate that contribute to child abuse in the Church? How does his list compare to yours? What was the most significant difference between the lists? Share the lists with a family member, friend, or pastor. Did they know about this work in the Church beyond the United States? Record their and your own reactions in your journal.
What are five Scriptural verses that you think address the damage created by child abuse in the Church? Using these verses, write and share a prayer for the survivors and their family members, assuring them of their dignity and their rightful place at the table of the Lord. Why don't you share this prayer and pray it with family or friends? Or, share it with your pastor to see if the parish might pray it together?
This broadcast is for you to follow and learn - and heal from the impact of clergy abuse in our Church on your life. It is also for your family and friends to follow and discuss. It's set up in modules so you can do so in convenient timing for your own lives. Not near each other? Is your parish better served with small discussions online, rather than evening gatherings at the center or church? Here are some of our favorite ways to connect online for faith discussions. Why not start your own online discussion group?
Pick One or More, Improve Your World Today
Do you know someone (it may be you) who used technology to help improve their world? Nominate them today. We'll include them in the January 2021 Safety Hackathon Gallery!
Rev. Stephen J. Rossetti, Phd, MDiv, provides a brief history of child abuse in the Catholic Church, since the earliest documented incidents through the turn of the century.
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