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Special forces: Graduates head home armed with skills to fight abuse

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VATICAN
CITY (CNS) — The Catholic Church has launched a new kind of “special
forces” in the fight against child abuse.

Nineteen men and women from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas became the first graduates awarded special certification in the safeguarding of minors — an initiative begun in Rome in 2016 to help dioceses, bishops’ conferences,
religious orders and other church bodies excel in child protection.

The graduates — who are psychiatrists, theologians, canon lawyers, educators and child protection officers — were honored June 14 during a graduation ceremony at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University.

Pope Francis sent a personal letter for the occasion, praising the new graduates and telling them, “I wish you courage and patience; be brave and
committed.”

The five-month, intensive program is run by the Center for Child Protection at the university’s Institute of Psychology and grew out of an e-learning program, but offers more active discussion and group work with onsite, face-to-face instruction by experts in a variety of fields.
Glatz on Twitter @CarolGlatz

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