The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Montreal, Christian Lépine, has ordered that beginning sometime this year, priests and other pastoral workers in Montreal parishes will no longer be permitted to spend time alone with children.
The decree comes in the wake of continued allegations of sexual and psychological abuse of children within the Catholic Church, with church officials, including Pope Francis, having called for a more responsive and comprehensive effort to prevent such abuses.
“Our diocesan Church, its Parishes, and its Missions have an obligation to ensure the safety and integrity of the people to whom we bring the Gospel,” said Lépine in a decree dated June 7, but only made public yesterday.
The purpose of the decree, said Lépine, is to “preserve the integrity, security, and good reputation” of churchgoers as well as paid and unpaid workers within the church – including priests.
Known as, “Responsible Pastoral Ministry,” the new policy is scheduled to begin sometime during the 2016-17 year, with a number of parishes selected to participate in a pilot phase of the project in the immediate to near future.
Global News has reached out to the Montreal Archdiocese for comment on this story.