Kilgallon makes a presentation to Pope at Rome meeting


Mr Bill Kilgallon, director of the National Office for Professional Standards of the Catholic Church in New Zealand, has been attending a meeting in Rome of The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

He was one of three people to speak when Pope Francis met with the commission face-to-face for the first time.

Together with Sr Hermenegild Makoro, Kilgallon gave a presentation on the projects carried out by the Commission’s six working groups over the past three years.

More than 200 workshops and seminars have been held all over the world, including the Vatican, seeking to raise awareness about the sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults, and the church’s duty to educate, train and protect its members.

Kilgallon said those churches that do have proper structures and suitable safeguards risk becoming complacent.

So it is vital such countries continue to review and renew their policies and practices, especially through the use of external audits.

He stated that they know what you need for a safe environment. But there are problems; these include:

Convincing countries that struggle because of a lack of information, resources and personnel to reach out for help
Getting essential information to everyone, including parents and children
Convincing those with guidelines in place that real action must accompany them.

Killgallon said the church needs to listen better to victims of abuse. It must be clear, firm and honest in proving that abuse has no place in its institutions.

Protecting children is not only central to Christ’s teachings but “you can’t give people their childhood back. We get only one chance,” he said.

Kilgallon said the papal commission, which is expected to welcome new members at the end of the year, will “have to be persistent” because the work of safeguarding and healing “is too important to be delayed and distracted.”

He and Makoro said the pope recognises the difficulties they have faced and has urged them to keep going.

“With the pope’s support, things are going to happen,” she said. “It’s going to be difficult, but I’m sure step-by-step, little-by-little, things are going to take shape.”


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