Canadian advocate delivers powerful speech at esteemed Catholic university

Gemma Hickey poses for a photograph in Toronto on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin

“Advocate Speaks Out On Zero-Tolerance Law for Clergy Abuse at Prestigious Jesuit University in Rome

At a venerable Jesuit university in Rome, a Canadian advocate is set to deliver a lecture today on a proposed zero-tolerance law for clergy abuse. Gemma Hickey, a prominent figure in the advocacy for ending clergy abuse, will address scholars at the 473-year-old Pontifical Gregorian University. The importance of the law and the impacts of clergy abuse in Hickey’s home province of Newfoundland and Labrador will be the focal points of the presentation.

The Pontifical Gregorian University, with a curriculum accredited by the Holy See, has a rich history of educating influential figures in the Roman Catholic Church. Graduates of this institution include renowned popes and canonized saints, making Hickey’s lecture a significant event in the academic realm.

Hickey’s invitation to speak at the university came from Rev. Hans Zollner, who heads an institute at the university dedicated, in part, to preventing clergy abuse. Emphasizing the urgency of addressing clergy abuse, Hickey believes that the lecture underscores the institute’s support for Ending Clergy Abuse’s proposed zero-tolerance policy, which the group hopes the Pope will adopt into canonical law.

As Hickey explains, the group’s proposed zero-tolerance policy is a crucial step in reforming current canonical law, which allows priests known to have sexually abused children or vulnerable adults to remain in ministry. The endorsement of the institute brings hope to Hickey and the organization, signaling progress towards achieving their goal.

The call for a zero-tolerance policy resonates with Hickey’s belief that many clergy abuse cases could have been prevented if adequate laws had been in place within the church. Highlighting the need for comprehensive measures to address clergy abuse, Hickey’s message carries weight not only in academic circles but also within the broader conversation surrounding accountability in the Catholic Church.

The upcoming lecture at the Pontifical Gregorian University is a significant milestone in the advocacy for zero-tolerance laws regarding clergy abuse. By engaging with scholars and leaders at this venerable institution, Hickey’s message reverberates across the Catholic community and beyond, igniting essential discussions on creating safer environments within the church. This proactive approach to addressing clergy abuse emphasizes the urgency of enacting meaningful change and inspiring hope for survivors of abuse.

The lecture serves as a poignant reminder of the ongoing battle to eradicate clergy abuse and the imperative of implementing robust measures to protect vulnerable members of the church. As conversations spark and initiatives gain momentum, Hickey’s advocacy underscores the collective responsibility to uphold the principles of justice and compassion within religious institutions.

In an era marked by heightened awareness of systemic issues and the call for accountability, Hickey’s efforts to promote zero-tolerance laws for clergy abuse provide a beacon of progress and a catalyst for transformation within the Roman Catholic Church.”



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