On November 5th 2018 in Zagreb, a meeting was held for priests of up to 10 years of the priesthood of the Zagreb Archdiocese on the topic of “Protection of Children and Minors – what can we do? Actuality of the subject, prevention, identification of signs of abuse and assistance to the victims “.
Cardinal Josip Bozanić emphasized the importance and relevance of the theme of the meeting for the life of the Church and noted that only one case of pedophilia is horrible evil because it marks the victim for life. He stressed that for the Church the sexual abuse committed by the clerical officials is horrible because they were called to serve but they betrayed trusts of most vulnerable.
The first lecture titled “Protection of Children and Minors – What Can We Do?”, held by Dr. Josip Bošnjaković, was focused on the historical context of updating the issues of protection of children and minors within the Catholic Church, in response to cases of sexual abuse. Dr. Bošnjaković gave a brief overview of what was done in the Catholic Church in recent years in cases of sexual assault.
The second lecture was held by Marina Šijaković on the topic of “Prevention and Identification of Signs of Abuse”. Ms. Šijaković spoke about measures for the prevention of abuse, the recognition of abusive characters, risk factors of the victims, and institutions. At the end of her presentation Marina Šijaković introduced the participants to the second part of the meeting in which the groups were formed to solve the set tasks. The work of the groups, which took place under the mentorship of theologian Šijaković, was followed by the results of the works and the discussion in which the participants of the formation expressed satisfaction with the topic selection and professional approach of the lecturers.
At the end of the meeting, Cardinal Bozanić thanked the lecturers for their valuable contribution in raising awareness of the importance of the fight against sexual abuse and caring for children and minors in the Church.