New policy, which includes church workers and volunteers, intended as ‘safety net’ against allegations of sex abuse, but critics say move is ‘too little, too late’
Catholic priests in Montreal will be banned from being alone with children to provide a “safety net” against allegations of abuse.
Archbishop Christian Lepine has issued a decree to implement the policy, which also covers lay workers and volunteers.
According to the decree, the move was to “ensure the safety and integrity of the people to whom we bring the Gospel message and offer our pastoral care”. But, it added, it was also “to preserve the integrity, security and good reputation of God’s people”.
In an accompanying letter, Lepine said: “Recent events brought to light the horrific reality of abuse of minors and vulnerable people by members of the church. These intolerable situations have shocked and shaken the Universal Church as well as the entire population.”
Pope Francis and his predecessors had issued clear instructions that every Catholic diocese must take necessary measures to prevent the abuse of children and vulnerable adults, the letter said.
Implementation of the policy is to begin with a pilot project involving a dozen parishes from September, and will subsequently be rolled out across the diocese.
Montreal Catholic archdiocese forbids priests from being alone with children
Priests and anyone else in “the orbit of the church” will be forbidden from being alone with children and other vulnerable people as part of a pilot project, the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Montreal said Thursday.
The goal is to create a “safety net” for everyone associated with the Catholic Church in Montreal, canon Francois Sarrazin said in an interview.