Bishops of the UGCC said a decisive “No” to violence in all its manifestations
On October 14, the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC has released the Message on protection of children, minors and vulnerable persons from various types of violence.
“We want to say a strong no to violence in all its manifestations. The spectrum of violence is not limited to sexual crimes against minors. However, we must first of all talk about these atrocities in connection with the crisis, which is associated with the exposure of cases of sexual violence by the clergy and monks and which caused a huge shock to the Universal Church,” the document says.
In the message, the bishops of the UGCC ask for forgiveness on behalf of the Church if someone has suffered from sexual, physical, psychological, emotional, financial or other types of violence or abuse in parishes, dioceses, monasteries, schools, seminaries or other Church structures;
“We affirm that we will listen to anyone who may have been a victim or witness of violence in any environment, including the Church. At the same time, we urge: do not be silent! ... Members of the Church are called to care for to prevent future abuse; a deeper sense of the roots of this problem — as with psychological or legal point of view, and from a spiritual-theological,” say the bishops and added: "We call on all state institutions, civil society and business to fully realize the prevalence in the modern world of violence, manipulation and atrocities against minors and the infirm of this world.
Bishops especially warn against the temptation of clericalism - the use of the Church and its spiritual authority by the clergy for personal purposes. The phenomenon of clericalism, the bishops of the UGCC note, is destructive for the Church, so they call: "Let us make our parishes, monasteries and seminaries a place of responsibility and brotherhood, where bishops, clergy, monastics and laity grow together in faith, love, charity and service to each other... A full intellectual and spiritual understanding will help the Church adequately prevent abuse and set a good example to the world.”
The bishops of the UGCC expressed a desire to “cooperate with public institutions for the protection of children, minors and vulnerable persons, because the phenomenon of violence has its deep roots where society does not react to evil and does not take appropriate measures" and called: "the protection of children, minors and vulnerable persons from violence is the business of every member of the Church — bishop, priest, consecrated person, laywoman and layman”.