The Catholic Weekly 5 July 2020 $2 THE AUSTRALIAN Catho- lic Bishops Conference has addressed claims that a new national safeguarding office constitutes a step backwards from the work of Catholic Pro- fessional Standards Ltd over the past three years. CPSL was established by the ACBC in response to the findings of the Royal Com- mission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse to conduct audits of church en- tities’ compliance with child safe standards and to deliver safeguarding training. It was set up as a not-for- profit company operating independently of the church hierarchy and runs at a cost of around $1.8 million a year. It is expected to be replaced early in 2021 by a nation- al approach to streamline and coordinate the Church’s work to protect children and vulnerable adults. Some Catholics are wor- ried that the new approach being considered by the bishops may lack the inde- pendence and transparency of CPSL, with The Australian reporting that there is “con- cern that old habits of se- crecy and non-transparency are creeping back into the church”. But ACBC president Arch- bishop Mark Coleridge said it is “seriously mistaken” to see the decision to bring various national organisations into a single entity as a “diminish- ment in the Church’s com- mitment to child protection and safeguarding”. “For more than 18 months, guided by some of the lead- ing authorities in child safety in the Church and elsewhere, we’ve been moving towards the single national office that’s long been intended,” he said. The new office “will retain the operational independ- ence that Catholic Profes- sional Standards Limited has enjoyed”, he added. “We are confident this na- tional entity can deliver on our commitment to the safe- ty of children and vulnerable adults while also eliminat- ing duplication and reduc- ing costs at a time when all Church institutions are under financial pressure.” The new office will assume key func- tions of CPSL and will super- vise independent audits of Church institutions, the train- ing of Catholic leaders and the development and review of national standards. It will also incorporate functions currently the ambit of other national organisa- tions, including the oversight of a new national protocol for handling complaints of sexual abuse. An ACBC spokesperson confirmed that while there is ongoing review into the details of the new structure, it will be operationally inde- pendent and be funded in a similar way to CPSL. “It is expected that the cur- rent funding model for na- tional Catholic professional standards and safeguarding bodies, which sees the Con- ference and Catholic Reli- gious Australia contribute, will continue,” the spokesper- son said. Executive director of the National Catholic Education Commission Jacinta Collins told media she welcomed to move towards a new nation- al approach to help provide streamlined support to Catho- lic schools in keeping children and vulnerable adults safe. “The Royal Commission identified the need for insti- tutions to have stronger lead- ership and governance pro- cesses to address child safety failings,” Ms Collins said. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CPSL has done its job Nation’s bishops underscore advantages of newsafeguarding auditor tobuildon effort begun in 2017 ¾ ¾ Marilyn Rodrigues THE SCHOOL community at St Ursula’s College at Kingsgrove take their motto – SERVIAM I Will Serve – very seriously. So much so they not only served - but prepared - over 400 meals to help those vulnerable in their local area. Believed to be a first for Syd- ney Catholic Schools, the Col- lege along with neighbouring primary school, Our Lady of Fatima, joined forces with One Meal to live out their school charism to help those in need. Established in December 2014 by Paul and Diana Mack- in to provide a one-off Christ- mas meal for those who would otherwise go without, today it operates 15 services each week in locations across Sydney and haswelcomed the support from the Kingsgrove community with open arms. Traditionally supporters of neighbouring parish Our Lady of Fatima Peakhurst‘s OneMeal Service as part of its Social Jus- tice Program, the Kingsgrove schools decided to introduce their own version due to its enormous success. CONTINUED ON PAGE 4 ¾ ¾ Debbie Cramsie Schools band together for those in need 5, July, 2020 THE HERMIT OF THE SAHARA P12 The Catholic Church in Australia is spending just over $36 million per annum on professional standards and child protection matters ...” Fr Tony Percy, Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn We’re at your service: Teachers from Our Lady praish schools handin out home- cooked meals to those doing it tough. PHOTO:ALPHONSUS FOK PERSEVERE WITH YOUR CHILD! P18