We all know the importance of Safeguarding when it comes to ministry and mission. I am sure we are all familiar with the requirements and practices outlined in the Safeguarding Children Policy and Standards for the Catholic Church in Ireland 2016. Indeed, the Carmelite Order have adopted this policy as official safeguarding policy. This website contains a very informative section on Safeguarding, outlining all the various policies and practices, as well as providing all necessary documentation and forms for ensuring best practice.
However, it is unfortunate that we might still see safeguarding as strictly legal requirements or obligations. The purpose of safeguarding norms and guidelines is not to limit or restrict ministry but rather to enhance it and to give peace of mind to all involved. Perhaps, we need to find a new theological perspective on Safeguarding, one grounded in the faith that we profess.
“Towards a Theology of Safeguarding” is an initiative introduced by the NBSCCCI in preparation for their annual conference. Theologians from across the world have uploaded short videos (10-15minutes) addressing topics about safeguarding. Presenters include Fr Hans Zollner, Dr Ethna Regan, Dr Marcia Bunge, Sr Nuala Kenny, Fr Paddy Boyle, Dr Jesse Rogers and Mr Alan Kearns. These talks encourage us to a deeper understanding of safeguarding, which moves beyond a simple legalistic understanding to one of faith and community. I would strongly recommend them.
The videos are available on YouTube, but they can be accessed collectively, together with other documents, on the NBSCCCI’s website, here.