New guidelines have been issued by Canada’s Catholic bishop in their ode to strengthen the way they deal with the scandal of clergy sex abuse. On 28 September in Cornwall, Ontario, the bishops reviewed the final version of the of the document titled ‘Protecting Minors from Sexual Abuse: A Call to the Catholic Faithful in Canada for Healing, Reconciliation and Transformation’.
Bishop Lionel Gendron of Saint-jean- Longueuil, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), stated that the new guidelines are an important milestone. Besides, stating that these pointers are not the endpoint in the battle to get rid of church sex abuse of the vulnerable by clergy.
“It does not mean that we are finished our work in this area, nor that we will not discern further steps to take,” he told the gathered bishops.
Further describing the international furor over sex abuse as a “fire burning in the Church,” which may be necessary as a form of purification.“As it blazes with brightness, it is cleansing and purifying, and thereby casting light on things that until now have been hidden in the darkness.”
The fight against clergy sex abuse has been continuous, and the original guidelines named ‘From Pain to Hope’ were a result of scandal that erupted in 1980s in the Archdiocese of St. John’s, Newfoundland, centered on abuse of minors at a Christian Brothers school called Mount Cashel.
The face of torture always looks innocent at first, and Canada’s share of scandal over the years, has left hundreds of victims in dioceses. These centers have spent millions of dollars in the compensation to victims, and some have even been forced to sell of their property, in order to raise money.
The horrendous accounts of the same case are directly linked with aboriginal residential schools system. The Canadian boarding schools, which were run for about a century, by four main religious groups in partnership with the federal government.
These boarding schools were accused of allowing unrestrained sexual, psychological and physical abuse of the children, which went to the school. However, the national government commission informed that the schools were a part of the systematic program by the federal government to eradicate indigenous culture highlighting sex abuse in Canada.
Though the schools have now been discontinued, but the victims continue to suffer. In commission hearings, several cases have presented heart-rending stories of being abused by the teachers. These also included Catholic religious priests, sisters and brothers.
Therefore, a national compensation program was established, with the cooperation of the religious organizations that ran the schools, and other forms of healing programs were implemented. Besides, the latest laws also oversee, how to control the problem even more effectively.