In Brussels, on 4 September 2018, a meeting was held on the theme of safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults. There were thirteen Brothers in attendance.
Leading the meeting were Mgr Herman Cosijns, secretary of the Episcopal Conference and Madame Micheline Cara from the legal department of the Interdiocesan Centre.
The morning was dedicated to the policy put in place by the church in Belgium to respond to complaints lodged by victims of abuse committed by priests and religious.
There was a general discussion of the Church’s attitude in the past. Awareness of the gap between protecting the Institution and abandoning the victims had been highlighted. This has resulted in a fruitful collaboration between State and Church. Victims have been able to speak out and their suffering is taken into consideration.
The two facilitators, speaking about the present and the future, urged us to remain vigilant and to find ways of continuing to be so. They also congratulated the Marist Brothers for their courageous policy and for the writing of the booklet. They encouraged us to put what is written into practice so that it does not remain merely words on paper.
Other topical issues, such as the protection of personal data, were also discussed.
The Provincial, Brother Brendan Geary, thanked the leaders and the Brothers for a successful morning. On the basis of the discussions, actions already undertaken will create a safe and supportive environment for the good of all.