Fostering Ethical Standards in the Jesuit Ministries is a priority for the Conference of European Provincials. The issue of Child Protection and Safeguarding are two areas of this priority we are promoting in all our works. Tackling them can be a starting point and an invitation for renewal of the Church in many areas such as human formation and pastoral outreach - an invitation that the Church and the Society should not miss. Safeguarding in many parts of the world includes also fighting the enlistment of child soldiers, reaching out to street children, action against trafficking and other issues. There is conversion needed in many societies in all these areas.
Every culture is different and has its complexities; so universal norms sometimes don’t work. Yet the invitation for renewal is there and must be taken up in every culture.
Our goal is not only to develop and implement protocols for responding to these injustices but to look at how we might actually have a pro-active culture in the Society of Jesus for the protection of children and other vulnerable members of our societies.
The issues raised are not easy ones, but tackling them will invite us to renew at a deep level our own individual lives, our community lives and our apostolic lives.
We need to avoid several things in respect to this topic like: denial, thinking of ourselves as the victims, blaming others, avoiding the matter at hand or considering it too complicated an issue to even act. Conversely, we encourage getting expert advice, education for the people we lead in our provinces, a culture of discussion, new ideas to build a culture of safeguarding, to seek personal support and, most importantly, to spend time with God since through Him we will find the right thing to do.