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National Conference 2022

Towards a Theology of Safeguarding

Every month for nine months which began in January 2021, the National Board commissioned short videos on some aspect of a Theology of Safeguarding on this webpage. The Nine videos were commissioned from theologians, scripture scholars and ethicists who live and work in Ireland, Italy and the United States. 

You can download a booklet which contains the transcripts from all nine videos by clicking here

Read More about a Theology of Safeguarding

It is now commonplace to hear the declaration that ‘safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility’. Ensuring that the Catholic Church welcomes, supports and protects children and all other vulnerable persons is a sacred ministry that is shared by clergy, Religious and the lay faithful.

But the Catholic Church is not simply another civic community that needs to be regulated by internal and external norms and laws; it is a Eucharistic faith community, The Body of Christ, The People of God.

Catholicism offers an understanding of God, and that understanding is the foundation and context for its understanding of creation, redemption, incarnation, grace, the Church, moral responsibility, eternal life, and each of the other great mysteries and doctrines of Christian faith.1

Theology is the focused practice of faith asking questions in order to develop these understandings.

A Theology of Safeguarding when better established will not be about ‘embedding something new’, as McManus (2010) has said; it will be about

 …unearthing, rediscovering and living principles which are already implicit in the nature of the Church and its mission, the authentic witness to the work of God in Christ and the teaching of the Gospels.2

The National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland wants to contribute to the development of a Theology of Safeguarding, agreeing with McManus that

We will never have a culture of safeguarding truly and fully embedded within the Church UNLESS we understand and live it as primarily coming from a theological imperative, an essential part of living the gospel.3



Videos on Theology of Safeguarding

January 2021

Fr Hans Zollner

Fr Hans Zollner SJ is founding President of the Centre for Child Protection and Professor at the Institute of Psychology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He is member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and consultor to the Congregation for Clergy. He is honorary professor at Durham University, UK. Lectures and conferences have taken him to many countries on six continents.

To access the transcript of this presentation click here.


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