Report on Sexual Abuse by Members of the Clergy: Priority to Transparency, Accountability and Safe Environments

Friday, September 23 2005

(CCCB – Cornwall) … The Special Taskforce by the Bishops of Canada to review From Pain to Hope, a document on sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy, presented its report yesterday to the Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), which is meeting until today, 23 September, in Cornwall, Ontario.

The result of reflections and discussions over a two-year period, the report was presented to about 70 Canadian bishops by the two Co-Chairmen of the Taskforce, Most Reverend V. James Weisgerber, Archbishop of Winnipeg, and Most Reverend Eugène Tremblay, Bishop of Amos. The Taskforce is made up of 10 members, including the two bishops, plus religious and lay persons.

In receiving the report, the Bishops reiterated their determination to fight the sexual abuse of minors. They also fulfilled a commitment they made in 2002 to review From Pain to Hope, published in 1992, which at the time was the first systematic study by a Conference of Bishops in the Catholic Church for preventing sexual abuse, caring for victims and developing procedures for such cases.


At the end of a process that included consultations with experts and victims of abuse, the Taskforce recommended that dioceses adopt rigorous measures for protecting children, banning from public ministry any member of the clergy or pastoral staff convicted of sexual assault, adopting diocesan mechanisms to counter sexual abuse, and implementing procedures to evaluate the diocesan management of sexual abuse cases.

Next Stage

After discussing the report which was presented yesterday, the CCCB members will be invited to propose amendments or offer comments on the national protocol over the coming weeks. In November, the proposals and comments will be reviewed by the 16-member CCCB Permanent Council which is responsible for overseeing the general work and orientation of the Conference and carrying out the main undertakings of the Plenary Assembly.

Following the meeting of the Permanent Council, the protocol will be voted on by all the bishops, either as it has been presented or following possible modifications. Once the document has been approved, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops will announce the implementation process.

The CCCB is holding its annual Plenary Assembly in Cornwall, Ontario, at the Nav Canada Centre until today, 23 September, to discuss a number of pastoral and financial issues.

The CCCB is the assembly of the Bishops of Canada. It assists the Canadian bishops in their many pastoral responsibilities. The Conference is involved in issues of national and international scope and provides the bishops a forum where they can share their experience and insight on the life of the Church and the major events that shape society.

Eugène Tremblay et/and James Weisgerber

Most Reverend Eugène Tremblay and Most Reverend James Weisgerber

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