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Member of the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors encourages Marists



Nearly 70 participants gather at Marist child protection conference

21/04/2016: General House


During a gathering on child protection at the Institute of the Marist Brothers’ General House in Rome, a member of the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors expressed his admiration for the Brothers and encouraged them in their work of safeguarding children.

“I really admire your thorough work in education,” stated Father Hans Zollner, who is also president of the Centre for Child Protection, told participants on April 18.
“I hope we can continue to strengthen our bonds in the field of safeguarding,” he added, referring to possible collaboration in this area with the Centre.

Nearly 70 provincials, district superiors, representatives of administrative units and guest speakers, which includes Fr Zollner and an abuse survivor, are gathering this week at the General House for a conference on Child Protection.

The Conference, entitled ‘Keeping Children Safe: Raising Awareness, Creating a Safe Environment,’ will run from April 18 – 22 as the continuation of a previous gathering of its kind held in March 2012.

Fr Zollner, who is also the academic vice-rector of the Gregorian University in Rome and head of the Gregorian’s Institute of Psychology, stressed that children are exploited in many ways around the world and noted, “we need to take into account all areas in which the rights of children and adolescents are threatened.”

Fr Zollner highlighted that it is “not just a European or Western problem” and stated that he has seen great improvements where guidelines for safeguarding children have been introduced and put into practice.

At the start of the conference, the Superior General, Brother Emili Turú, emphasized that globally “as an Institute, we have already taken huge steps in the task of the protection of children since our last gathering four years ago.” 

“Victims are our absolute priority; the reputation of our Institute is secondary,” said Brother Emili at the start of the conference on April 18. 

“With this gathering, we wish to increase both our awareness and our commitment,” he told participants.

He affirmed that protecting children “is not parallel to our mission, it’s at the very heart of our mission.”

“The purest way to love children is through respect,” noted Br Emili. “Children are not incomplete beings, they’re humans who deserve respect from the moment of their conception.”

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