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New Zealand bishops highlight shame of corporal punishment

The Catholic Bishops of New Zealand last week reaffirmed a Conference resolution intended to highlight the plight of children suffering from verbal, physical and sexual abuse.

The original statment was made last year, but the bishops considered the importance of the issue requires it to be restated. The statement refers to children who suffer abuse at the hands of both their families and adults with whom they come into contact at school and church.

"Many children in our society do not experience the security of a loving and protective family," the statement said. "What is even more distressing in our present day, is to learn of children who are exploited, neglected and abused."

"As a Church community, it is a cause of deep shame to us that some within the Church family whose very role has been to protect children, have been guilty of this abuse."

The statement went on to apologise to children who have been abused at the hands of authority figures within the Church.

"We acknowledge the evil. We offer profound regret and sincere apology. We will do everything we can to provide protection and healing to victims of this abuse."

It then made the link between abuse and crime committed by young people.

"So many are casualties of dysfunction in their early life experience. Providing effective programs of rehabilitation must be a priority for all agencies that have responsibility for the welfare and wellbeing of children."

Catholic Communications (New Zealand)

Catholic Communications (New Zealand)
Catholic Church in New Zealand

14 Oct 2003