CCCB Continues to Address Sexual Abuse with Special Taskforce

Friday, December 12 2003

(CCCB-Ottawa) As had been announced at the October 2003 Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), a Special Taskforce has been created to review the guidelines concerning allegations and incidents of sexual abuse involving members of the Catholic clergy in Canada.

In 1992, the CCCB was the first episcopal conference worldwide to adopt guidelines on sexual abuse. The Special Taskforce will review and update these guidelines, in view of the experiences over the past 10 years in Canadian dioceses as well as developments in other parts of the world.

The Canadian guidelines, entitled From Pain to Hope, have assisted dioceses across Canada in developing protocols consistent with the best standards of practice at the time. With the help of this resource, dioceses were able to establish policies on sexual abuse and to implement pastoral programs to help victims and their families.

From Pain to Hope will serve as the reference point for the Special Taskforce whose first responsibility will be to review the document in its entirety.

The 11 members of the Taskforce will also focus on the following elements: safe environments for pastoral work, with emphasis on the protection of children; transparency and accountability. As well, the Taskforce will make possible recommendations on the guidelines in general, the development of additional resources, and follow-up for preventing future situations of abuse.

Most Rev. V. James Weisgerber and Most Rev. Eugène Tremblay
Most Rev. V. James Weisgerber and Most Rev. Eugène Tremblay

The Special Taskforce has also been mandated to consult with experts, to meet with victims and perpetrators, and to suggest an expansion of its mandate, if necessary. A final report is to be made by the end of 2004.

Archbishop V. James Weisgerber of Winnipeg and Auxiliary Bishop Eugène Tremblay of Quebec City will co-chair the work of the multi-disciplinary committee that is composed of nine other members, both laity and clergy.

These other members are:

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