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Brisbane church support for child protection laws

Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Brisbane Fr James Spence has indicated church support for recent Queensland legislation designed to protect children and adolescents.

The Catholic Leader reports that the Commission for Children and Young People Act 2000 provides for the screening of employees appointed in Queensland after 1 May. The Act will extend to self-employed people next February, and volunteers after 1 May 2002.

The legislation applies to all people and not just to clergy or laity working in the Church, as a press report implied. Some Brisbane priests at the weekend publicly expressed their hurt at the discriminatory character of a newspaper heading.

In expressing the Church's support for the legislation, Fr Spence said confusion arose due to the newspaper's quotation of an "Archdiocese of Brisbane policy document" which was actually the Toward Healing program adopted by the Church nationally five years ago.

He defended Church procedures currently place, including the rigorous psychological assessment to which which candidates for the priesthood are subject.

Catholic Leader