Statement by the Bishop of Aberdeen, Rt Rev. Hugh Gilbert OSB, following the publication of the McLellan Report.
As Bishop of Aberdeen Diocese I welcome the publication of the McLellan Report and associate myself and the Diocese entirely, with the statement made by Archbishop Philip Tartaglia at Mass today in St Andrew’s Cathedral, Glasgow, at which he, (on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland), accepted in full, the recommendations of the Report and made the national apology which was agreed by the Bishops Conference in Scotland.
The priority for the Diocese of Aberdeen must now be to act on the comprehensive recommendations of this independent report and to ensure that nationally and within the Diocese, we put survivors first, including those who may not yet have come forward.
In accepting its recommendations, we are determined to take innovative action as well as listen to the reaction from survivors following its publication. This independent Report which the Catholic Church in Scotland commissioned, is of course a beginning and not the end of a process to address the needs of victims. It is the intention of this Diocese as it is throughout the Catholic Church in Scotland, that we now discover new and creative ways of engaging with survivors, thereby reaching out to survivors in an independent and personalised structure that will encourage victims to come forward and assist those who have already provided evidence to the McLellan Commission.
I have confidence in the quality of the Diocesan Safeguarding Team and am grateful for the commitment of the Safeguarding Coordinators in our communities, to ensure that this will happen. Our safeguarding audits will be made available on the Diocesan website, which illustrate why I have such confidence.
In endorsing all that Archbishop Phillip has said, (along with the Holy Father on such matters), we in the Diocese of Aberdeen will not only act upon the recommendations of the Report, but will additionally consider how we can go beyond those recommendations. Aberdeen Diocese is prepared to learn from past mistakes where mistakes have been made, to further develop best and transparent practice and to continue to employ independent external scrutiny of the work that takes place.
Pastoral Letter for 23rd August 2015
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Last Tuesday, Revd. Dr. Andrew McLellan published his Commission’s Report, a review of current Safeguarding policies, procedures and practice within the Catholic Church in Scotland. This review was called for by the Bishops two years ago. We deliberately sought help from those outside the Catholic Church, and we have accepted the Report’s Recommendations in full.
Church Responds to Critics of Safeguarding Strategy
In a response to a letter sent by the former Chair of the Commission examining Safeguarding Protocols in the Catholic Church, the Assistant General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference has rejected claims that the recommendations produced by the McLellan Commission are not being implemented.