Jesuit Safeguarding Conference in Hungary

Fr Brendan Callaghan SJ and Mr Kevin Barry, the chair of the province safeguarding commission, recently attended a conference in Hungary, organised by the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials.
Over 30 Jesuits and collaborators spent four days working on a range of issues focusing on building a better culture of safeguarding in our provinces. 
There were workshops on a range of issues, from formation and the selection of candidates, to the canonical legal processes that have to be applied in the most serious cases as well as better training, enhanced procedures and how the huge improvement in the system in most European countries can continue to be improved upon.
Jesuits and others from most of the European provinces were present as were representatives from  three other Conferences of Provincials – South Asia, Africa & Madagascar and Asia-Pacific. This provided the conference with a truly international opportunity to share ideas and exchange views.
The emphasis throughout the four days was on sharing best practice and an openness in dealing with safeguarding, both in creating an environment in which all people, children and adults can feel save within a Jesuit environment and also on how to put right the damage done when people have suffered abuse.
The German provincial and a colleague spoke particularly powerfully on this latter topic. They shared their experiences of working with victim-survivors who came forward after many years and the long dialogue that was established to help resolve the issues of the past and the different attitudes that this created in the Province.
The hard work of the four days was supported by the professional and personal contributions by all the participants. The language of the conference was English which made the English Province’s two participants task much easier. Prayer, examen and the daily eucharist underpinned all that was done and hopefully will continue to be done as the participants return to their provinces.
Fr John Dardis SJ, the president of the European Conference of Provincials said “We have come a long way during the last decades, we need to acknowledge the job already done to become a better and safer institution that really brings hope and increases faith in God”