WelCom April 2023
Sr Catherine Jones smsm
Safeguarding Adviser, Archdiocese of Wellington
More than 50 participants from the archdiocese were invited to attend a safeguarding formation day in Wellington last month to learn more about safeguarding leadership within Church communities.
In the spirit of the Synodal process, participants listened deeply to the Word of God, to the various presentations, and to one another.
Discussions explored how safeguarding must inform our service in the mission of the Church. A ‘spirituality of safeguarding’ recognised the deep pain and wounds of abuse within the Church, and how the ‘first listening’ must be to victims and survivors of abuse, and often to their families.
The scandal and legacy of abuse by members of the clergy and religious orders was recognised as an ‘open wound’ at both individual and Church levels. However, it was also understood the Church empowers hope and strength for repentance, redress and healing, knowing God alone can reconcile and heal.
Working towards a culture of safeguarding is the way we respond in love, justice and the promotion of the dignity of all.
David Mullin, project director of Te Ropu Tautoko, the group coordinating Catholic engagement with the Royal Commission into abuse in care, gave a keynote address.
He outlined nine principles of Catholic Social Teaching, which include respect for human dignity. ‘When someone is abused, a sacred bond linking the person to a sense of self, to their human dignity, has been harmed,’ David explained. ‘Ensuring those harmed in Church care are provided with redress that restores dignity is a fundamental responsibility of Church leaders.’
David also screened a short video of Pope Francis’ March 2023 prayer and message for victims of abuse. Parishes are invited to show this, where appropriate, during April Masses [www.youtube.com/watch?v=14VHtwuhPWc].
Lesley Hooper and Elizabeth Barry, members of the archdiocese’s Royal Commission response team, held two workshops. They discussed how to respond if someone wishes to make a complaint. They also looked at a case study about a visitor taking Holy Communion to the sick, that raised safeguarding concerns and called for an appropriate response.
Please contact Sr Catherine Jones at email@example.com for further information.
Te Rōpū Tautoko’s March newsletter reported that 21 March was the last day for survivors of abuse in care to register to have their accounts heard by the Royal Commission. The commission will make every effort to have survivor accounts heard by the end of April.
The commission is expected to release its Marylands School report before June. Its final Inquiry report is expected in June.