Yesterday, Friday 20th November 2020, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales gave an official statement, responding to the Independent Inquiry Investigation Report on Child Abuse in the Catholic Church (IICSA).

The statement concludes:

‘Today we acknowledge without hesitation, our failings, our mistakes, our lack of adequate cooperation. We express our deep sorrow and ask forgiveness, especially from victims and survivors. We affirm our resolve to effect the next step in our work of safeguarding and care for survivors. In prayer we turn to Christ the Good Shepherd, the fount of healing and compassion, asking that this moment of painful truth becomes a time of grace…’

As Chaplains at the Catholic Chaplaincy we too express our sorrow and shame for the suffering caused by child abuse within the Church, and for the Church’s lack of adequate response.

We wish to take the Bishops’ statement as an occasion to renew our efforts at the Chaplaincy to do all we can to safeguard children and the vulnerable, to support those who have been affected by abuse, and to ensure that as a community we are committed to best pastoral practice.

We will in the coming weeks:

  1. Complete and update the Chaplaincy’s draft Best Pastoral Practice and Safeguarding Document
  2. Review the role of our Safeguarding Chaplaincy Reps
  3. Consult within the Chaplaincy to see what Safeguarding training for volunteers might be provided in the Chaplaincy through an external agency
  4. Liaise with the Newman Trust and the Oxford Board to ensure that appropriate oversight of our Safeguarding practices are in place
  5. Respond to requests for prayer and a safe meeting place within the Chaplaincy

Please do not hesitate to contact Fr Matthew, Alvea or any of the Chaplains or our safeguarding Reps, Nikki Paul and Kathryn Wills on these matters.