Halifax Archbishop Anthony Mancini tells CCCB plenary of progress on update of From Pain to Hope Sept. 14. Photo by Deborah Gyapong

New abuse guidelines will make Canadian bishops more accountable

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  • September 18, 2015

CORNWALL, Ont. - Canada's bishops will face greater accountability under new guidelines that highlight healing in cases of sexual abuse of minors.

The revised protocols are contained in a document called "On the Protection of Minors," which will replace "From Pain to Hope," a document developed in 1992 following the Mount Cashel Orphanage sex-abuse scandal in Newfoundland.

"The Holy Father is demanding we be more accountable," Halifax Archbishop Anthony Mancini said Sept. 14 at the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops' (CCCB) annual plenary. "In fact some of the accountability that comes from Rome now has consequences. A few of the bishops have experienced the consequences of not doing what's being asked."

When from Pain to Hope came out in the early 1990s, the Canadian bishops were "in the avant garde in the Church in providing assistance to bishops and others" in the clerical sexual abuse crisis, Mancini said. "The intention is to show that much has happened in the last 25 years."

The new document-in-progress will also stress accountability, said Mancini, the head of an ad hoc committee established three years ago to address this issue.

“Our work as a committee has been to try to draw from our experience of the last 25 years or so, bring it all together and see what we can provide for our bishops,” Mancini said.

The document will also make a statement about how lay people and various parts of the Church interact with each other.

“We want the tone of the document to be primarily pastoral.”

The committee decided to name the new document “On the Protection of Minors” because it addresses a different topic than what From Pain to Hope addressed, the archbishop said.

“Because the nature of this crisis has become more than what we imagined at the time” there are new rules and new expectations coming to us from the Holy Father, and from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “so we needed to update our own guidelines,” he said.

So far, the committee has developed an outline. A section of the document will need to go to Rome for “recognition” or acceptance by the Holy See, he said.

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