Abidjan (Agenzia Fides) – To engage one’s priests in the struggle of the universal Church against sexual abuse and in favor of the protection of minors and vulnerable people. This is the objective set by His Exc. Mgr. Jean Salomon Lézoutié, Bishop of Yopougon in the Ivory Coast, who organized a training course on the topic for diocesan priests and religious held on February 13.
The course was held at the Mons. Alexandre Chapoulie center, and was organized by the Center for the Protection of Minors and Vulnerable People of the Catholic Missionary Institute (ICMA). According to Fr. Donatien Lolo, Episcopal Vicar responsible for the diocesan clergy, the training course "invites us to double-up our vigilance and increase our precaution in accompanying children and even adults, because we must remember that we risk destroying lives with inappropriate and indelicate gestures and behaviors". He added that "training is a very effective means of preventing and combating these sad practices that disfigure the Church".
At the end of the course, following the "zero tolerance" logic of Pope Francis and the universal Church for the prevention and management in a transparent and rigorous way of cases of sexual abuse of minors or vulnerable people, the diocese of Yopougon has adopted some measures that include, among other things, the offer of a code of conduct to pastoral workers against sexual abuse and for the protection of minors and vulnerable people, drawn up by the Episcopal Conference of the Ivory Coast whose validation is pending of approval by the Holy See. Signal offices will also be created in the coming days to support both the victim and the accused priest. Finally, training and awareness courses will be increased so that everyone is involved in this struggle. (S.S.) (Agenzia Fides, 19/2/2020)