In recognition of a problem, the Montreal Catholic archdiocese forbids priests from being alone with children.
In an attempt to foster a “healthy and safe environment” in its churches, the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Montreal has announced new guidelines to ensure priests and lay workers are never alone with children.
Archbishop of Montreal Christian Lépine says he will create a new bureau in the diocese called the “Service of Responsible Pastoral Ministry,” which will be tasked with rolling out the new policy.
The move is an admission that the Catholic Church has failed to protect children from sexual abuse by clergy members for decades if not centuries.
Announcing the new policy earlier this week, Christian Lépine, archbishop of Montreal, wrote the following in a message to the faithful:
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.
Better late than never, but still, very late.
François Sarrazin, chancellor of the archdiocese, said the measures 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.
The fact that it is 2016 and the Catholic Church is only now finally deciding to exercise “simple human prudence” when it comes to children’s safety is itself a damning statement that hints at the profound moral corruption that continues to fester in the heart of the church.
Critics of the Catholic Church were not impressed by the new policy.
Carlo Tarini, representing survivors of abuse by priests, said the move was “too little, too late,” while observing that the church was simply trying to protect itself from legal action.
Echoing the sentiment, David Clohessy of the US-based Snap (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) dismissed the policy as “window dressing,” noting:
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.
The critics are right. Feeble attempts at better public relations and “window dressing” does not alter the tragic reality that children continue to be sexually abused by Catholic clergy around the world. In fact, a recent investigation found that the Catholic Church is surreptitiously shipping suspected pedophile priests to poor parishes in South America.
According to reports, the Catholic Church has allowed priests accused of sexually abusing children in the United States and Europe to relocate to poor parishes located in South American countries like Paraguay, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil and Peru.
Bottom line: Anything to address and acknowledge the Catholic Church’s abysmal failure to protect children from pedophile priests is a step in the right direction. And as far as it goes, this is good news for kids in Montreal who are currently being indoctrinated into the Catholic Church.
However, a wiser, and more humane course of action would be to simply keep children away from priests and others desiring to seduce and indoctrinate individuals with religious superstition until those children are old enough to think for themselves.