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Catholic Church works on policy to protect minors

Catholic Church works on policy to protect minors
Catholic Priest's and Nun's nationwide during the safeguard training workshop at St Joseph's secondary school hall on June 04, 2017.Photo:Vilimoni Vaganalau.
July 05
14:56 2017


The Archdiocese of Suva is developing policies to protect children and minors from sexual abuse.

A two-day workshop at St Joseph’s Secondary School hall that rounds up today includes headteachers and school principals of Catholic schools in Fiji.

Archbishop Peter Loy Chong said many items mentioned in the resource document are applicable to ministry with adults.

“The policy establishes a set of general guidelines and boundaries for people ministering to minors and addressing explicitly proper contact with persons under 18 years of age,” Archbishop Loy Chong said.

The workshop also includes training on Safeguarding, and Ministerial Integrity to priests, teachers, religious sisters and Brothers.

The training informs church workers on Codes of Conduct, Guidelines of Ministry and Counselling Minors, and Do’s and Don’ts of Ministry to minors.

Archbishop Chong says the policy is applicable to all persons employed by, or volunteering in any of the parishes and institutions of the Archdiocese of Suva.

He says this includes priests, religious (men and women), deacons, pastoral co-ordinators, catechists,  administrators, eucharist ministers, teachers, youth ministers, support staff, custodial staff, coaches, school programme volunteers, seminarians serving internships and lay theology students.

“This policy has been developed to help create a safe, appropriate and Christian environment for minors and their relationships with adults involved in Church ministry.”

“All Church workers are called to adhere by this policy.”

Archbishop Chong says the Catholic Church will address those who fail to comply with the policy.

“The Church’s action may take various forms from remedial processes to removal from ministry.”

Moreover he says the conduct of ministers and employees, both public and private, has the potential to inspire and motivate people or scandalize and tear down their faith.

“They must be aware of the responsibilities that accompany their ministry. They must also know that God’s goodness and graces support them in their ministry.”

The Archdiocese of Suva already has a Policy and Guidelines for Sexual Abuse.

However, Archbishop Chong says this document only comes into effect when there is a sexual abuse case.

“What we also need is a policy to prevent sexual abuse. Hence, the Policy on Ministerial Code of Conduct, Ministerial and Counseling Guidelines will help mitigate sexual abuse of minors.”

The workshop was organised by the Archdiocese of Suva, and facilitated by Karen Larkman and Rabecca Kings from the Archdiocese of Sydney, Australia.

Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola



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