Dublin archdiocese bans photos during religious services

Dublin archdiocese is banning photographs being taken during religious ceremonies, in order to protect children from potential abusers.

Each diocese in Ireland has been directed to have guidelines governing the filming and photography of children while they are on church grounds.

The move derives from standards issued by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCC) in 2008.

“It’s to avoid a situation whereby photos get into the wrong hands of potential abusers,” said Ger Kenny, spokesman for the NBSCCC.

“The risk issue is people will be taking pictures of kids who are not related to them, and for inappropriate reasons.”

Annette O’Donnell, spokeswoman for the Dublin archdiocese, said there is a ban on taking photographs during any religious ceremony in the archdiocese.

These include Confirmations, Baptisms and weddings.

“The guidance issued to all churches is that no photography is allowed during Mass,” she said.

“Parents are not allowed take pictures during Mass.

“Our child protection officers tell our parishes not to allow photography without parental consent.”

But parental consent is impossible to give while the Mass is ongoing, she explained.

Ms O’Donnell said the guidelines have a twofold objective.

“One is for child protection reasons, the other is that it would be a huge distraction for the religious ceremony taking place.”

She said the photo ban is “best practice” for anyone dealing with groups of children, whether they are in “churches, schools or sports clubs”.

Church officials in Northern Ireland said the photo ban will not be extended there.

A spokesperson for Clogher Diocese said: “Our safeguards are always under review and at this moment a blanket ban is perhaps at one extreme.”

“We discourage photography during the service,” the Clogher spokesperson said.

“However, we work with parents and schools and we come to some arrangement which safeguards the children, which is fundamental.”


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