Laudato Si Child Protection
Title: Laudato Si’ gets more attention in Church than child protection, expert says
Author: Elise Ann Allen
ROME – A leading expert says that the Catholic Church still has a long way to go in acknowledging and being aware of sexual abuse, pointing out that the pope’s environmental encyclical Laudato Si’ is often more visible in the Church than safeguarding.
Speaking during a June 30 webinar session on “Victimology and the relational safety model,” Dr. Gabriel Dy-Liacco noted that the Catholic Church’s response to abuse complaints has changed over time – from sending priests to treatment centers only to recycle them back into ministry somewhere else, to enforcing administrative leave when a complaint comes in, to a stricter adherence to restrictions on ministry when victims made allegations.
“Historically, unfortunately, Church leaders have focused their response on priests, not victims, and these responses were all done in secrecy. They lacked transparency,” he said, noting that while Church leaders are beginning to understand the issue better, there is still a long way to go.
In the United States, there is now a charter for child protection, “but changes [are] not fully implemented,” Dy Liacco said, noting that while the U.S. also has mandatory safe environment training and audits, “this is not true of the Church in many parts of the world.”
“If we look at even just the first step of institutional response, which would be acknowledgement and awareness, step one, that is not present in the Church. It does not have a presence,” he said.
To illustrate his point, Dy Liacco pointed to Pope Francis’s 2015 encyclical on care for the environment, Laudato Si’, noting that just three months after the document came out, “it’s everywhere!”
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