Manual for the topic of safeguarding of minors and vulnerable adults

The General Chapter of 2021 made clear and courageous decisions about introducing into the workings of the Order of Friars Minor (OFM) a true culture of respect for human dignity expressed concretely in safeguarding minors and vulnerable adults. Included in those decisions is offering to every friar and every lay person collaborating with our Order an adequate formation about safeguarding.

This manual, which has been worked on at different levels, sets out to be a useful tool in formation for safeguarding.

The longer first part offers a theoretical framework to explore the phenomenon of abuse and the prevention of abuse. In the second part, some examples are offered with a view to planning a training even in formation, whether at the level of Ongoing Formation or Initital Formation. Obviously, these outlines s can be adapted to the concrete situation of a Province or Custody.

What is important is that the message being sent to friars and lay people in this regard is coherent, well informed, and constructive. Safeguarding is not merely a burdensome obligation that inspires fear, but it is first of all a great opportunity for conversion in how we relate to others with regard to the use of power. As is stated in the first part of the Manual: “As Friars Minor, our commitment to safeguarding is an actualized form of living our charism of minority by renouncing any kind of abuse of power towards others.” 

We hope that you may profit from reading this document, and in every entity of the Order we await formation events on safeguarding that inspire courage, clarity, and hope.

Peace and every blessing.

Br Darko Tepert. Secretary General for Formation and Studies
Br Albert Schmucki, President of the Permanent Commission for Safeguarding Minors and Vulnerable Adults.

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