Workshop on safeguarding

From 29 October to 9 November, the delegates for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults were invited to a training workshop. Some had already participated in the first workshop last year and therefore only participated in the second week. But the “new ones” had to be upgraded first during the first week to be able to follow the deepening session with the others. Below you will see a picture of the first group and a short report from Jean Lamonde, delegate for our community in Rome. And below, the group photo of almost all the delegates. Indeed, Joseph Makoka, suffering from mild malaria, had become the centre of attraction for the apprentice doctors of a university hospital in Rome.

Seven confreres participated in the session on Integrity of the Ministry and Protection of Minors and Vulnerable Persons in Rome. During the week, several topics were discussed. The first few days were devoted to the different concepts and definitions of sexual abuse, minors and vulnerable persons. Attention was then turned to the victims, their suffering and the perpetrators of sexual abuse. The reflection also focused on the attitude to follow in order to accompany, listen to and support victims. The company’s policy and the role of the Child Protection Officer have been well described and explained. Finally, the different procedures to be followed in the event of sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable person were presented.

This is a brief description of the first initiation given to the new delegates for the protection of minors. This initiation will certainly be most useful and as it is also intended to provide participants with a minimum of material to continue their own training once they return to their different positions.

Jean Lamonde

Project Princess Tamar (Protection of minors in Brazil)

In Brazil we have grouped together in a structure called the “Cardinal Lavigerie Center” our commitments for Justice, Peace, Integrity of Creation and Encounter and Dialogue. This centre is located at the Catholic University. We organize round tables, exhibitions, conferences, seminars on JPIC ED issues. The prevention of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable persons is one of the projects managed by the centre.

Last year, after having followed the training offered by the Society of Missionaries of Africa for its Delegates for the Protection of Minors, I returned to Brazil wondering what we could do in practice. The missionary is an apostle who knows how to translate compassion (a feeling) into mercy (a concrete action in favour of the person). I started by speaking openly about it in our parish and also during the retreats and recollections I preach. As everyone feels uncomfortable talking directly about abusers, abusers and abusers, I then started from the biblical story of Princess Tamar who was raped by her stepbrother Amnon (2 Samuel 13). The narrative always has a liberating effect. The result was explosive: tongues untied to reveal the Tamar and Amnon of today who frequent our churches.

During the annual retreat of the Mass servers of our parish last year, we spent a few hours with the story of Princess Tamar. These teenagers stepped into the story with passion, emotions, revolts… From that moment on, I created the Princess Tamar Project, a campaign to raise awareness and protect minors and vulnerable people against sexual abuse. This year the Sisters of Saint Joseph in contact with this reality wished to participate in this campaign to protect minors. I also spoke about sexual abuse at the annual retreat of the clergy of a diocese. The priest in charge of the diocesan Social Action and who is also president of an association for life (ProVida) was passionate about the Princess Tamar Project. All these positive and spontaneous reactions led to the organization of a seminar on the prevention of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable persons from 17 to 19 September 2018 in Salvador, an initiative of the Missionaries of Africa in Brazil.

We were 14 participants representing institutions or associations that would form a network of collaboration: the Missionaries of Africa, the Social Pastoral Ministry of the parish of the Missionaries of Africa, the Social Action of the Archdiocese of Salvador, including one representative of the Pastoral Ministry for Minors and another of the Youth Pastoral Ministry; the Children Pastoral Ministry, the ProVida Association, and the Social Sac Association. The seminar took place in 3 moments:

  1. Personal sharing on the reality of sexual abuse. This moment quickly became emotional. Compassion is indeed a necessary force in this commitment to life.
  2. Training: understanding this evil of sexual abuse. Our basic text was two of the booklets published in Brazil on the subject.
  3. Define concrete actions of the Princess Tamar Project.

Our objective: a prevention campaign. We have prepared printed, audiovisual material based on the culture of northeastern Brazil. These materials will be used during meetings organized in schools, parishes, neighbourhoods… The network’s member associations have the capacity to mobilize people and enter all spheres of the Brazilian society. We will visit institutions where there are minors to ensure that they are safe places. The seminar developed a whole programme of actions.

The Princess Tamar Project is therefore underway as a collaborative network for the protection of minors and vulnerable people in northeastern Brazil. We will need financial support to carry out this awareness and protection campaign. We count on the generosity of the Society of the Missionaries of Africa and the confreres. We have decided to meet twice a year to evaluate our commitment and to participate in the training necessary for our mission.

Moussa Serge Traore, M.Afr.

Reflecting on formation

In the wake of the latest splashes from the United States, Stéphane Joulain has posted on Facebook some of his thoughts on the training of priests for the 21st century. As many of us are not Facebook enthusiasts, I reproduce this post here.

The formation of future priests is certainly one of the important places of the reform that Pope Francis could undertake. But first of all, we must agree in the Church on which face of the Church do we want and which ministries for this Church. The priests will have to find their right place there. Continue reading “Reflecting on formation”

Letter of Pope Francis to the People of God


“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it” (1 Cor 12:26). These words of Saint Paul forcefully echo in my heart as I acknowledge once more the suffering endured by many minors due to sexual abuse, the abuse of power and the abuse of conscience perpetrated by a significant number of clerics and consecrated persons. Continue reading “Letter of Pope Francis to the People of God”

We must find ways of reparation with the victims…

Pedophilia in the United States: for Father Stéphane Joulain, “we must find ways of reparation with the victims”.



Listen to the interview by RCF

Translation of the article of  Jean-Baptiste Le Roux (RCF Radio 20 August 2018)

The publication of a report in the United States reveals a list of 300 priests accused of paedophilia and more than 1,000 victims.

It is a new paedophilia scandal that is shaking the universal Church. A major scandal. An investigation carried out by the Pennsylvania prosecutor’s office, published on 14 August, revealed the existence of sexual abuse perpetrated by more than 300 priests, of which no fewer than 1,000 children were reported victims.


These abuses were all, according to the investigation report, covered by the Catholic Church of the American state. Today, almost all the cases brought to light by the investigation are statute-barred. Those responsible cannot therefore be prosecuted. A case reminiscent of the one led by Boston journalists, and which gave birth to the film Spotlight.

“It takes a long time for a victim to dare to speak, to free herself and to say the suffering that is hers. It is not surprising that it takes so many years. And we know that sexual violence against children is the least reported to the authorities. We can expect other revelations in the years to come,” explains Father Stéphane Joulain, a white father and psychotherapist specializing in paedophilia.


The latter evokes an evolution in relation to the victims. “The victims’ words are free. The victims dare to speak out and the other victims see this word come free and tell themselves that they could be believed. This is very important. I believe that before the Church was ready to hear, there were all those victims who dared to speak, and who freed the words of others,” the psychotherapist adds.

“Those who have been complicit in these crimes must be brought to justice. So, of course, the bishops who are stationed in the dioceses of Pennsylvania are probably not those who were there when the facts were committed, but those who have responsibilities in the concealment of these facts must be brought to justice. Because as soon as you protect a criminal, you become an accomplice to these crimes,” says Father Joulain.


For the latter, it was the Chilean affair that marked a real turning point in the awareness of these horrors by the ecclesial authorities. “The Pope realized that bishops could lie and that the information he had was not correct. He was already sensitive to these realities, but then he realized that there was a real systemic problem. This moment of change can help the Church to move forward with the victims in reparation work,” says the psychotherapist.

“In his last apostolic exhortation, the Pope says that humiliation calls for humility. This is the only way the Catholic Church can truly be a Church at the service of God’s people, a Church that knows how to walk humbly. Once humiliation is accepted, and there is a factor of shame, the Pope invites us to transform it into humility. Humility, Saint John Chrysostom defined it as the recognition of truth. You have to walk the truth. Yes, the Church has failed in its mission. Yes, the Church is sinful. Yes, the men who make it up have abused children and vulnerable people. Yes, we must accept this dimension of our ecclesial institution. But you mustn’t stay with your nose in the dust. We have to ask ourselves how, with the victims, we are going to find ways of reparation. This is where the Lord awaits us” Father Stéphane Joulain concludes.