I welcome the announcement today by the Holy Father Pope Francis of the appointment of Ms Teresa Devlin, CEO of the National Board for the Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland, as a new member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. This Commission serves as an independent institution connected to the Holy See, with an advisory function at the service of the Holy Father.
I am aware that Pope Francis seeks to appoint those people from around the world to this Commission, who have demonstrated a deep commitment to safeguarding and to developing wide expertise and best practice. I congratulate Teresa on her appointment.
Teresa has worked with the National Board since 2009 and took up the post as CEO in January 2015. Teresa’s appointment is therefore also an international recognition of the work of the National Board and the significant contribution it has made to assist the Church in Ireland to put in place robust child safeguarding measures. Working with the National Board Teresa has adopted a professional and supportive, but challenging approach, always insistent that we in the Church continually monitor, evaluate and review our policy and practice in this area.
Teresa’s appointment also gives me the opportunity to thank the many hundreds of women and men who work at parish and diocesan level throughout Ireland ensuring that all activity in the Church is carried out with the utmost attention given to safeguarding best practice for children and vulnerable persons.
I have worked with Teresa over the last twelve years and am familiar with her determination to support the Church in ensuring that the pastoral environment is always safe for children; that all allegations are immediately reported to the relevant statutory authorities and are processed fully in accordance with civil and canon law; and, that those who have been harmed as a result of abuse are responded to with care and compassion.
I am confident that Teresa will work positively with the Commission and bring her extensive experience of working with the Catholic Church in Ireland to the sharing and development of safeguarding best practice initiatives across the global Church. It is also my hope that Teresa’s presence on such an important international body will help bring back to Ireland fresh insights for the benefit of safeguarding in this country.
Notes for Editors
- Archbishop Eamon Martin is Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.
- With the publication of the Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium in March 2022, the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors has been instituted within the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith that deals with sexual abuse on the part of members of the clergy. The Commission is independent and reports directly to Pope Francis who has given it a clear mandate to animate the entire Church from within the Roman Curia on the subject of child protection.
For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long +353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Lisa Sheridan +353 (0) 86 084 3175.
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