Archbishop to urge global Church to follow Irish example on safeguarding youngsters

The head of the Church here has said he intends to “advocate” for the establishment of a body like the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI) in “every single country of the world” when he attends the Vatican’s summit on sexual abuse.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Archbishop Eamon Martin paid tribute to the NBSCCCI for holding the Irish Church to account on safeguarding.

Dr Martin, as the president of the Irish Bishops Conference, will represent the Irish bishops at the unprecedented summit on clerical child sexual abuse called by Pope Francis. It takes place at the Vatican from February 21 to 24.

Dr Martin said that the NBSCCCI had ensured the Irish Church had implemented best practice.

“The National Board comes into our dioceses and our files are open for them. They are able to examine how we have handled cases and also to hear feedback from people as to whether or not our standards are making a difference on the ground,” he said.

He said feedback from survivors, clergy and laity indicates “Ireland has done a huge amount in terms of best practice. But I am also hearing that we can’t become complacent, we have to be careful because this very awful sin and crime has a habit of changing”.

“So we have to be always on the alert to ensure that all of the Church’s activities are as safe as possible for children, vulnerable people and minors,” he said.

Dr Martin was speaking after he consecrated Bishop Larry Duffy as the new Bishop of Clogher yesterday.

In his homily at St Macartan’s Cathedral, Monaghan, Dr Martin said it would be “a shame if we saw the involvement of our lay faithful in the life and mission of the Church merely as a consequence of the decline in the number of clergy and religious”.

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