From September 19 to 22, 2021, a conference on protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse took place in Warsaw.
The conference was attended by representatives of bishops' conferences, representatives of conferences of senior religious leaders and some psychotherapists, social workers and lawyers of civil and ecclesiastical law. It was the first such conference of representatives of the Churches of Central and Eastern Europe. The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Children and Minors organized the conference under the leadership of Cardinal O'Malley of Boston.
From Slovenia, the conference was attended by the Archbishop of Ljubljana, Metropolitan and President of the Slovenian Bishops' Conference, Msgr Stanislav Zore, Bishop of Murska Sobota, Msgr Dr Peter Štumpf, psychotherapist MA Špela Tušek and S. Magda Burger ND.
Lectures and group work provided a wide range of experiences, interpersonal connections and knowledge acquisition. Abuses are a deep wound of the Church that hurts, scolds not only the victims and survivors but also all of us who deeply feel belonging to the body of Christ. At the same time, we must look the truth in the eye and acknowledge that the desire for Jesus is "woundless, an illusion" (Cardinal O'Malley). Abuses, not just sexual ones, are a crime and a sin. Closing one's eyes to them is turning one's gaze away from the wounded Christ, and the desire to "be heard and seen" is one of the fundamental human needs. Accountability in action, clarity in processes, and a willingness to make amends are the three pillars on which victims and perpetrators are treated fairly.
We ended the conference with some concrete ideas on cooperation at the international level and construction or renewal of national systems - following the example of good practices we have learned.