CNS photo/Paul Haring
By Drew Dillingham
Catholic News Service
(Third in a series)
ROME — On Monday, classes at the Gregorian kicked into full gear for the Diploma in Safeguarding of Minors. We were happy to have the opportunity to begin the day with Mass in the university’s chapel. The first reading from Genesis 4 recounted Cain’s murder of his brother, Abel. The Gospel from Mark 8, described how the Pharisees asked for a sign from Jesus, which Jesus did not provide because of their lack of faith. Based on the readings, the main celebrant, Jesuit Father Nuno da Silva Gonçalves, who is also the rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University, preached a great homily to my class.
Two simple messages from his homily still remain with me. First, as Catholics, we are indeed our brother’s keeper. We must be concerned with how others are being treated. Second, it is our duty to be the signs of Christ’s love in the world, especially as it relates to the protection of children and care of survivors of abuse. Christ, who is the “way, the truth and the life,” must be the source and foundation of our efforts if they are to be truly effective. This is something I have written in previous blogs, and will probably write again, because it is so important to remember.
Following Mass, my class received an official welcome from our professors. We were also introduced to some of the doctoral students who will be conducting post-doctoral seminars every week as a continuation of their previous work on the issue of abuse.
The rest of the week our classes centered around three topics: culture and childhood, terms and definitions, and restorative justice. These are just three of the dozens of topics we will be covering over the next 12 weeks. For this week’s blog, I would like to reflect on some ideas we discussed regarding culture and childhood.
Girls at a protest against child marriage in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Jan. 18, 2017. According to UNICEF, in 2016, 52 percent of girls in Bangladesh are married before the age of 18, one of the highest rates in the world. (Photo credit: CNS/EPA)
The first is that different cultures have different concepts of when childhood begins and ends. For example, in some cultures, individuals are considered to be adults when they reach 14; in other cultures, (Read More)