The church wants to protect children from pedophilia in the church

– The purpose of the Network for the Protection of Minors in the Churches of Central and Eastern Europe is to exchange experience and best practices in the field of prevention of sexual violence and assistance to victims, – said the PEP’s defense coordinator to PAP. Father Adam Zak, director of the Center for Children and Adolescents and Child Protection.

  • The Church is taking steps to prevent the exploitation of minors in the Church by establishing a Network for the Protection of Minors in the churches of Central and Eastern Europe.
  • Outside Poland, he was joined by representatives of the Eastern and Latin Rite Churches from Central and Eastern Europe and several churches from the former Soviet republics.
  • Jesuit Father Zak, director of the Center for Child Protection, acknowledged that churches in Europe are at different stages in the fight against the problem of pedophilia among clergy.
  • The organizers of the network have created special groups on the Teams platform to hold meetings dedicated to the protection of minors.
  • The father believes that the presence of refugees from Ukraine, especially mothers with children, has created a need to address the protection of this group at risk of various crimes, including sexual exploitation and human trafficking.
  • More similar information can be found on the main page of Onet.pl.

The Jesuit announced that the network’s creation was the result of an international conference on the protection of minors in the church in Central and Eastern Europe in September 2021 in Warsaw under the slogan “Our common mission to protect the children of God.” .

The church wants to protect children from pedophilia in the church

– The purpose of this conference was to establish cooperation and contacts, exchange experiences and see where we are in each country. Then we decided to continue cooperation, sharing good experience and knowledge on the protection of minors from sexual exploitation – said Father Adam Zak.

Jesuit explained that a survey was conducted among the conference participants, and it was one of the questions whether the participant wanted to join the network. – The answer was positive – said Fr Żak.

He said that in addition to Poland, representatives of Eastern and Latin churches from Central and Eastern European countries: Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Moldova and Romania also joined the network. , Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia. Several churches from the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, including Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, also joined.

– Churches in this region are at a very different stage when dealing with the problem of sexual exploitation of minors by clergy. We can say that these are churches at different speeds, Fr. Żak dedi.

He explained that most of the clergy in these countries are only at the beginning of the fight against this problem. – The churches in Latvia and Estonia still do not have any information about this type of crime among the clergy, however, they face a lot of pressure from the media, such as the churches in Poland. In this regard, or France is facing Germany, he said.

According to the Jesuits, Latin churches in Slovakia and the Czech Republic are just beginning to address the problem. “We are in the first phase of learning to understand that this problem belongs to them in general,” he said.

He said that an organization similar to the Polish Center for the Protection of Children at the Catholic University of the Greek Catholic Church in Lviv, Ukraine, has already been established, called the Center for the Dignity of Children. “The head of this center has conducted a fairly thorough study of sexual violence in Ukrainian society,” he said. He added that the church in Hungary has also done a lot in the last two years.

The director of the Center for Child Protection noted that the organizers of the network have created special groups on the MS TEAMS platform, which will hold meetings dedicated to the protection of minors. “These will be meetings dedicated to the prevention of sexual violence, cooperation and the legal aspects of the protection of minors and the accompanying victims,” ​​he said.

– The next webinar will focus on cooperation with victims. I also expect that after Pope Francis’s amendment to the Motu proprio Vos estis lux mundi, which is expected in June, an explanation will be required not only by the canonists but also by the church leaders for the gross negligence of the church leaders in managing crime. They reported crimes, he said.

The father added that the presence of refugees from Ukraine, including a large number of children and their mothers, made it necessary to address the protection of this group at risk of various crimes, including sexual exploitation and human trafficking. “We want to recognize the needs and opportunities to fight this and share them with churches in countries in our region that accept refugees,” he said.

The director of COD noted that the establishment of the Network for the Protection of Juvenile Churches in Central and Eastern Europe was supported by the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. – Head of the Pope Commission, card. Seán Patrick O’Malley wrote a letter to all the bishops ‘conferences in the region and to those who participated in this network,’ he said.

According to Ata Żak, the creation of the network and the use of the platform can facilitate and facilitate the process of changing the mentality of clergy and believers in the countries involved in the network in order to adequately respond to the problem of sexual violence. . “If such a network had already existed in 2013, when I was the CESD coordinator for the protection of minors, it would probably have been easier for us,” he said.

Source: PAP / Iwona Żurek

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