Vatican asks NZ for feedback on safeguarding principles

safeguarding principles

The Vatican is inviting New Zealanders to give public feedback to The Vatican’s Child Protection Commission on the Church safeguarding principles.

Aimed at creating updated diocesan guidelines, the move opens up the consultation process, historically limited to bishops and church leaders, to a broader base of stakeholders.

To collect the feedback, the commission has established an online survey.

According to CNA, anyone can participate in the survey, which is available in English, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.

New Zealanders’ feedback will be combined with feedback from around the world and be instrumental in developing an updated Universal Guidelines Framework (UGF), as announced by the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors last week.

Globally effective and meaningful safeguarding principles

According to its website, the commission wants to ensure the guidelines are globally effective and meaningful.

While acknowledging that “each country and context have their own cultural, linguistic and other individual characteristics,” the commission would like these guidelines to be applied everywhere.

Commission member Teresa Devlin told Vatican News that the Global South, particularly Asia, is part of the world most behind in developing its own guidelines and abuse reporting and response structures.

But, she added, “It is up and down across the world.”

“Some places are very well developed. Some places have not yet started to address the whole idea of abuse within the Church.”

Moving forward

The current draft guidelines have been circulated to bishops’ conferences for feedback as part of the review.

The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference spokesperson, Mr David McLoughlin, confirmed the Conference received the document on Wednesday.

McLoughlin told CathNews that the relevant people are studying it, and the “document will help positively to strengthen further our comprehensive local safeguarding policies and practices.”

The commission plans for the new UGF to be finalised by the end of 2023 and distributed globally.

After finalisation, Catholic dioceses will be asked to revise their safeguarding guidelines in line with local cultural norms.

In 2024, the commission plans to release its first report on the implementation progress of the safeguarding guidelines in various countries and, over time, information regarding the guideline’s implementation will be added to when bishops’ conferences visit Rome during their five-yearly obligatory visit.

By extending the consultation process to all, the commission wants to underline its commitment to an inclusive approach to child protection, reflecting the need for local context understanding and global collaboration.


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News category: New Zealand, Palmerston.

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