Catholic leaders promise to protect the vulnerable

 Bishops and Congregational leaders have repeated the committment of the Catholic Church in England and Wales to safeguarding children and vulnerable adults as an integral part of the life and ministry of the Church. The Catholic Media Office has issued the following statement: The Bishops' Conference of England & Wales and the executive of the Conference of Religious came together last week to discuss together their initial responses to the Cumberlege Commission's report, Safeguarding with Confidence. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor said: "The Cumberlege Commission's report recognises the extensive work done following the Nolan report and our grateful thanks go to all involved in this important work," said the Cardinal. To ensure the reception of the Cumberlege Commission's report, Safeguarding with Confidence, an implementation group has been established. Bill Kilgallon, chief executive of St Gemma's Hospice, has agreed to chair the group with Bishop Declan Lang and Sr Jane Bertelsen as vice-chairs. Other experts will be brought in to help the implementation group. This group will consider the pace and scope of the changes recommended in the report and propose a process of implementation. It will also make arrangements for the oversight of the work of COPCA from the Spring meeting of the Bishops' Conference. The Bishops' Conference and the executive of the Conference of Religious went on to reaffirm the One Church approach and committed themselves to its application in Dioceses, Parishes and Communities of Religious. Bishops and Congregational leaders will also undertake training in this area as a sign of their commitment to safeguarding. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor said: "As a result of the huge amount of work in this area, both by COPCA and volunteers across the dioceses, we are now in a totally different place from five years ago and the next stage of this process is to embrace safeguarding into the work of the Bishops' Conference and the life of the Church as a whole. Safeguarding the vulnerable, both children and adults, is integral to Church life and ministry and it is the responsibility of all to make the Church a safer place." "It is vital that we speak with one voice as one church," said Sr Kathleen McGhee, president of the Conference of Religious. "Without the tireless work of COPCA we would not be where we are today. We would want to commit ourselves with enthusiasm to the recommendations. We particularly welcome the emphasis on training. Safeguarding is for all and we welcome the move to include vulnerable adults in this. The elderly are often described as a problem, but our language should be of the gift of the elderly." For full details and to read the report see: Source: CCN

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