Since a couple of years, the world is shaken by scandals of pedophilia, and more particularly within the Catholic Church. Many Christians wonder, especially about the responsibility of the Church in covering such crimes. Beyond that, we need to think about how Catholic schools actively participate in the fight against sexual abuse of a particularly vulnerable group, children. Not to do so would be at the very least the expression of a guilty naivety and beyond that of a lack of responsibility.
The Catholic school, because it is based on values and inspired by the Gospel, must therefore be exemplary. It must consider that child protection is a founding principle of human rights and the rights of the child, and that as such it must do its utmost to protect children who are entrusted to it. In many countries, the law goes in this direction. But committing to do everything is not enough. The Catholic school must really engage in a real process of anticipation, by having charters of good behavior, being demanding in the recruitment of its masters, etc. It is by giving strong signals to society that our schools are really engaged in the fight against sexual abuse, with the help of powerful protection devices, that we will restore confidence to everyone, and that we will help the Church to get out of this bad situation.
Secretary general of the OIEC
Preparation of the next OIEC Congress
The Congress of the OIEC is becoming more concrete. A website for the Congress has been posted online: https://www.oieccongress.com. The Spanish version will be online in the next few days. The registration procedure is now open. As a first step, until December 31, 2018, it is up to each member to solicit from its own network of Congress participants, up to the number of delegates assigned to each member. In a second time (from 1 January 2019), an individual registration option will be opened via the Congress website. Do not delay in registering to receive by return the documents that will allow you to apply for your visa.
News from the CAR
We received from the Secretary General of the ECAC (Associate Catholic Teaching of Central African Republic), Paul GUINIMANGUIMI, information concerning the decision of the Central African Government to close 32 confessional institutions in the CAR for various administrative reasons including: missing opening authorization, missing renewal of the opening authorization, non-compliance with closure decisions or inadequate infrastructure. The OIEC remains mobilized on this problem, particularly through its representatives at the United Nations in Geneva.
Partnership with “A chance in life”
The Secretary General met in New York with the leaders of the organization “A chance in life” (https://www.achanceinlife.org/). This organization is very involved with vulnerable groups of children, especially street children. It can therefore bring a lot of expertise to the OIEC on these issues. “A chance in life” has been invited to speak at our next Congress (Lab 6).
Symposium on the universality of human rights – Council of Europe/ Strasbourg
On the initiative of Mgr. Paolo Rudelli, Observer of the Holy See at the Council of Europe, a symposium was organized in Strasbourg on the question of the universality of human rights. On this occasion, it was recalled the history of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the desire of its drafters to make a list of universal rights. It was then shown how the Universal Declaration of Human Rights had spread to regional instruments in Europe, America and Africa, demonstrating the universality of its principles. Finally, Mgr. Gallagher, for the relationship with the States of the Holy See, addressed three major challenges that “in the current historical context, threaten the recognition of the universality of human rights”.
The first challenge “comes from the social development model that we are pursuing, both at the level of the advanced economies and at the global level“. The second challenge highlighted is “the growing pluralism we experience in our societies“. The third concerns “the instability of the international order and the growing threats to peace“.
In response to these challenges, Mgr. Gallagher has shown that it is fundamental “to return to an essential aspect of the Universal Declaration“: the fact that political and social rights cannot be separated from economic, social and cultural rights, among them the right to education. He recalled that this overall vision is in line with the Church’s social doctrine in its quest for “integral human development“.
AGENDA OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL
September 3-7, New York, USA. Meeting of the steering committee of the Congress, preparation of the Congress.
September 10, Strasbourg, Council of Europe. Symposium on the universality of human rights organized by the Permanent Mission of the Holy See at the Council of Europe.
September 13, Paris. Meeting of the financial commission of the OIEC.
September 14, Rome. Participation in the training session of the Catholic student youth.
September 21, Paris. Meeting of the Transversal Representation Team (ETR) of the OIEC.
September 24 to 30, Bogota, Colombia. Visit to the CIEC, participation to the Congress of CONACED (80th anniversary).