The Catholic Church’s Montreal Catholic Archdiocese has taken the unprecedented step of forbidding priests to be alone with children. The move comes after decades of suppressed sexual abuse at the hands of the Catholic clergy. In addition of not allowing priests to be alone with children, the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Montreal has also forbidden lay workers involved with the Catholic Church in the archdiocese from being alone with children as well, according to Patheos.
According to the Catholic Church’s Montreal archdiocese, the change in policy was undertaken in order to foster a “healthy and safe environment” within its church facilities.
Catholic priests in Montreal banned from being alone with children https://t.co/VsIkYN2l1v
— The Guardian (@guardian) June 24, 2016
In addition to rolling out the new policy within the Montreal Catholic Church, the local Archbishop Christian Lépine is also planning on creating a new bureau within the Montreal branch of the Catholic Church called the “Service of Responsible Pastoral Ministry.” The new bureau will have the responsibility of implementing the new policy in local churches.
Many among the general public see the move by the Montreal Catholic Church as a blatant admission that the Catholic clergy cannot be trusted with children and that the Catholic church has failed miserably to protect children exposed to the Catholic clergy from sexual abuse. It is known that child sexual abuse in the Catholic church has been going and (and covered up) for decades, but it is believed that is has likely been taking place behind closed doors with no repercussions for centuries.
— Gregory Woodhouse (@GregoryGrimble) June 24, 2016
@dailymail that's idiotic it's like banning all men from being alone with children because they might be pedophiles.
— Pip (@Artful70) June 25, 2016
— Raguraman B (@ragub6) June 25, 2016
The archbishop of the Montreal Catholic archdiocese posted a message to his faithful flock earlier this week to announce the change of policy (at least locally) in the Catholic church. In his message, the religious leader appeared to take some responsibility, on behalf of the Catholic Church, for the terrible and systematic abuse that many children have been subjected to by the religious organization.
“Recent events have brought to light the horrific reality of abuse of minors and vulnerable persons by members of the Church.
“These intolerable situations have shocked and shaken the Universal Church as well as the entire population to whom we wish to proclaim the Good News of Christ.”
The Archbishop of Montreal is banning priests from being alone with children. https://t.co/4slQG4nKXX
— BC Humanists (@BCHumanist) June 25, 2016
The chancellor of the Montreal Catholic Church archdiocese extrapolated on the archbishop’s words, saying that the new rules prohibiting Catholic clergy and lay workers from being alone with children in Montreal are intended to send a message.
“People who work in churches, if they hope to hide to commit acts of pedophilia, these people have no place in the service of the church. Simple human prudence dictates that you don’t remain alone with a child.”
Many people think that the efforts of the Montreal chapter of the Catholic Church are too little, too late. Especially since the child sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church to its core has been going on for decades, and is suspected to reach back much further in church history. Many are appalled that it has taken the ancient religious institution until 2016 to decide to implement a policy reflecting “simple human prudence.”
— André Marin (@Ont_AndreMarin) June 24, 2016
Especially after so many reports that the Catholic Church has deliberately hidden and covered up abuse and moved pedophile priests from diocese to diocese, rather than removing them from their positions of trust altogether.
At least one critic of the Catholic Church, Carlo Tarini, who represents survivors of abuse at the hands of Catholic priests, thinks that the public policy change being made by the Montreal archdiocese is nothing more than a means to protect the church from legal action.
Another advocate of victims of Catholic clergy abuse, David Clohessy of the U.S.-based Snap (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), concurred.
“The single most effective step would be to publicly disclose and discipline every cleric who committed or concealed child sex crimes. That immediately protects children.”
What do you think? Is the Montreal Catholic Church’s Archdiocese new policy being implemented to keep kids safe or to limit the liability of the Roman Catholic Church in abuse cases?
[Image by Shutterstock]