Church leaders in Brazil described the April 8-10 Seminar “Healing Our Own Wounds,” set up in response to Pope Francis’ request to create more concrete policies and structures to better prevent and heal child sexual abuse, as days of “great depth, serious study and illumination,”.
TutelaMinorum worked closely with the Special Commission for the Protection of Children and Adolescents of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB), the Conference of Religious of Brazil (CRB) and the Núcleo Lux Mundi task force, to teach 450 participants including bishops, religious superiors and delegates about the juridical, clinical and pastoral framework for safeguarding children and vulnerable people from abuse.
TutelaMinorum’s President Cardinal O’Malley gave the opening address, accompanied by key contributions by other members, Nelson Giovanelli, Teresa Kettelkamp, and Fr. Hans Zollner SJ.
Discussions ranged from the issue of cooperation between ecclesial and civil authorities in combatting abuse, the updating of safeguarding guidelines, methods of outreach and support for people who have been abused, how to create safe spaces to encourage disclosure of abuse, the clinical and spiritual aspects of the healing process advance Pope Francis’ request to create more concrete policies and structures to better prevent and heal child sexual abuse.
Dr. Nelson Giovanelli is a founder of Fazenda da Esperança and a Brazilian member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
Sharing participants’ feedback, chief-organiser Nelson Giovanelli spoke how participants are eager for the Church to continue examining and instituting these concrete initiatives.
For example, one participant highlighted “the great participation of all, the presentations of the members of the Vatican Commission were very important because of the need to structure the diocesan commissions in order to better attend to children and adolescents, as well as vulnerable people, victims of violence in the Church.”
Anohter participant remarked that “The importance of this training, with a multidisciplinary team in network, is the basis for a greater prevention and accompaniment of the victims. It is important that it can reach as many dioceses as possible, but also all Catholic and non-Catholic communities: Lay Movements, New Communities, etc.”
Over forty follow up questions have been sent to the presenters of this event, and translations of the English presentations into Portuguese are now underway.