By Matters India Reporter
Kochi, Jan 10, 2019: Kochi, Jan. 10, 2019: The Syro-Malabar Church on January 10 resolved to create safe environment for all in its dioceses, parishes and religious houses.
This was decided at the synod now underway at the Church headquarters in Kochi, Kerala.
The Oriental Catholic Church has been hit by controversies, including sexual abuse involving priests, in the past few years.
The synod, the apex administrative body of the Church, has decided to set up internal committees at the diocesan level to create the safe environment for all, including children and vulnerable adults, says a press release issued by the Church’s public relations office.
Claiming that the safety and security for all have already been ensured in parishes, diocese, religious congregations and institutions of the Syro-Malabar Church, the statement said that the implementation of new “Safe Environment Policy” would further strengthen it.
According to the policy, representation of the laity should be ensured in the committees being set up in the diocesan level to solve the complaints.
The new policy was evolved on the basis of directives issued by the Vatican, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India and the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council, the said the statement issued by Father Jimmy Poochakkatt, the Church’s official spokeperson.
The policy insists on the need to resolve all complaints from inside and outside the Church within a stipulated time.
The January 7-18 synod is being attended by 55 bishops from all dioceses of the Church.
The Catholic Church in India has been hit by various scandals involving priests recently.
Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar was arrested in September amid mounting public outrage over allegations of repeatedly raping and sexually assaulting a nun in Kerala.