General Chapter Provides A Second Update

Informative Note Number 2
2020 General Chapter

January 25-29

 

January 30, 2020

The previous informative note mentioned the chapter fathers’ unanimous resolution to dedicate all the time necessary to take a deeper look at the “stories and experiences of the victims [of sexual abuse], as well as the recently published Report 1941 – 2019.” The Chapter has accomplished this in various ways.

First, the members of the Commission for Past Abuse Cases presented their report to the chapter fathers, which included the following: the work they accomplished, the method used, the description of the situation and the different ways the Congregation has responded to sexual abuse throughout its history.

Then the chapter fathers spent time reflecting on a series of takeaways and recommendations offered by the same commission.

On Tuesday, January 28th, the chapter fathers had a study day with the opportunity to listen to the testimonies of two victims of sexual abuse, one of them specialized in restorative justice and the other an expert in child psychology. Both testimonies helped to raise awareness of just how deep these wounds go and how great is the damage inflicted on a person who was the victim of sexual abuse. They also shared possible personal and institutional responses that can contribute to healing.

Fr. Hans Zollner, SJ, secretary for the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and president of the Center for Child Protection of the Pontifical Gregorian University, gave a videoconference on the urgent pastoral need to reach out to victims as an essential part of our ministry in the Church today.

All this, along with moments for group reflection and prayer, is leading us to the recognition that besides doing justice to victims’ claims by dealing with past abuse cases and taking responsibility for them, it is about changing our mentality, our ways of acting, and the institutional culture that have made so much pain possible.

Wednesday afternoon, January 29th, Father Eduardo Robles-Gil, LC, was invited to the General Assembly of the Lay Consecrated Men of Regnum Christi. The other chapter fathers dedicated this time to personal study, a presentation on some topics regarding the history of the Congregation, and work by commissions.