Canadian bishops’ committee calls for ban of convicted priests from ministry

.- A special task force of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has called on all bishops to commit themselves individually and publicly to a strict method of dealing with the problem of clergy sex abuse.

A report issued by the task force Sept. 22, at the tail end of the CCCB annual weeklong plenary meeting, also recommends banning all priests and pastoral staff convicted of sexual abuse from any public ministry for the rest of their lives, reported Canadian Catholic News. Finally, the task force calls on public reporting on how the Church is doing in its battle to eradicate abuse.

Archbishop James Weisgerber of Winnipeg and Bishop Eugene Tremblay of Amos, Que., co-chaired the 10-person task force. Their work was based on the bishops’ 1992 document “From Pain to Hope”, which was written after a sexual abuse scandal rocked the Canadian Church in the 1980s.

“From Pain to Hope” was never officially adopted by the CCCB but has been used as a guide by most bishops.

The task force has asked that bishops forward their comments on the report in the coming months. They will be presented to the CCCB permanent council in March, which will prepare a final protocol for voting.

During the meeting, the bishops elected Archbishop Andre Gaumond of Sherbrooke as the new CCCB president, succeeding Archbishop Brendan O’Brien of St. John’s, Nfld.

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