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EDUCATION


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An important part of the Commission’s work is to explore the best ways to provide education for all people who serve in Church organizations, together with parents, youth, children, and all members especially of our parishes and schools.

Our Commission Members have provided many educational and training programs, including those offered to conferences of bishops and religious superiors, to new bishops meetings in Rome, and to child protection personnel from all parts of the world.

 

 

For Conferences of Bishops and Religious Superiors

Examples of the programs for conferences of bishops include a meeting in December 2015 with the Episcopal Secretariat of Central America and Panama (SEDAC).  Commission Member Bishop Luis Manuel Ali Herrera from Colombia was accompanied by our President, Cardinal Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap. and our Secretary, Msgr. Robert Oliver, for a two day conference that included bishops from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica and Panama.

 

Another meeting was held in August 2015 in the Philippines. Almost all the country's bishops traveled to Manila for the three-day seminar with Members Dr. Gabriel Dy-Liacco, Fr. Hans Zollner, SJ and Msgr. Oliver.  As a direct outcome of this meeting, the Conference of Bishops established a National Office for child protection in the Philippines.

 

In March 2016, Commission Members Sr. Hermenegild Makoro and Sr. Kayula Lesa met with the Secretaries General of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) in Ghana.  A few days later, they also presented at a second meeting with child protection practitioners drawn from the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) in Tanzania.

 

In November 2016, the Conference of Bishops in Mexico asked to meet with Cardinal O’Malley at their annual meeting in Mexico City.  The Cardinal was joined by Fr. Zollner and Msgr. Oliver, as well as Archbishop Charles Scicluna from Malta, formerly the Promoter of Justice at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

 

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Programs for New Bishops

Our Commission was also invited to assist with the formation courses offered for new bishops by the Congregation for Bishops and by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

 

On 14 September 2016, Fr. Zollner gave an in-depth presentation on screening in priestly formation and answered questions from the new bishops from mission territories, during the an intensive week-long course of formation sponsored by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. 

 

“Thirty-two years ago, when I was named bishop, these programs did not exist. If there had been such programs, and they discussed child protection, perhaps our recent history as a Church would be much different. But we can learn from the mistakes of the past and put the Church on a new path, where the protection of children is the highest priority. No other topic is more important for the life of the Church. If the Church is not committed to child protection, our efforts at evangelization will be to no effect; we will lose the trust of our people and gain the opprobrium of the world”

- Cardinal Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap.

 

 

On 15 September 2016, Cardinal O’Malley and Commission Member Mrs. Marie Collins gave presentations to the new bishops taking part in the formation course jointly hosted by the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for Eastern Churches. Commission Member Bishop Alí Herrera was present at the gathering as one of the new bishops.

 

 

Cardinal O’Malley and Mrs. Collins  spoke on the history and impact of child sexual abuse in the Church and on episcopal responsibility in the protection of minors.  Msgr. Oliver joined them for the time of questions and comments

 

“We know that it is only a very small percentage of priests who abuse, the vast majority of child abuse is inflicted within the family. However for every priest who is an abuser the damage caused effects a much wider circle of people.  His victim of course but also his immediate colleagues who feel betrayed, all the faithful to whom he has ministered with the damage extending eventually to the entire Catholic community – the harm is incalculable”.

- Mrs. Marie Collins