for the Monastic Guesthouse
of Holy Cross Monastery
Welcoming guests to the Guesthouse
Persons under the age of eighteen do not normally come to stay in Holy Cross Monastery Guesthouse as the monastery does not engage in residential youth ministry.
If persons under 18 are to be present in the Guesthouse, (e.g. for a school retreat) they must always be accompanied by and under the direct care of a visiting adult, (e.g. a teacher from the school concerned).
Guests over the age of eighteen who are suffering from a mental or physical disability shall where possible only be received if accompanied by a carer or companion.
Guests will only be received by Monks on the ground floor reception rooms of the Guesthouse, the parlours off the reception area of the monastery or in the Monastery grounds.
Best Practice in Safeguarding Children
Those charged with running the monastery Guesthouse or involved in the spiritual accompaniment of guests shall abide by the monastery’s Child Safeguarding Policy and Procedures and shall be supplied with copies of same. They shall be made aware of the procedures for reporting suspicions or allegations of child abuse outlined in Safeguarding Children: Standards and Guidance Document for the Catholic Church in Ireland. They shall be made aware of the commitment in the Church’s procedures to act in accordance with the principle that the welfare of children is always the paramount consideration. A similar consideration for the protection of vulnerable adults shall be explained to them.
The Guestmaster will exercise due vigilance regarding those who come to the Guesthouse, and where he deems it appropriate, he may require guests to provide references before accepting their booking. Should a guest act in a suspicious manner he or she will be required to leave.
The monastic Guesthouse at Holy Cross Monastery sometimes welcomes guests who are in a fragile emotional or mental state and the prudent judgement of the Guestmaster in consultation with the Superior shall be applied to ensure that these people are appropriately cared for during their stay.
The Guestmaster and those monks involved in the running of the Guesthouse or in the spiritual accompaniment of guests will in the course of their duties come across information of a confidential nature however it must be stressed that safeguarding must never be kept a secret. The procedures described in Monastery Policy on Protection and Safeguarding of Minors and Vulnerable Adults must be followed, including informing the Superior and the Dromore Designated Person, who shall then be responsible for informing the appropriate civil authorities.
Note on Disclosure of Abuse and the Sacrament of Reconciliation
The maintenance of trust in the Sacrament of Reconciliation requires the guarantee of absolute confidentiality, allowing for no exceptions. This is known as the Seal of Confession and guarantees to the penitent that anything revealed to the confessor will not be divulged to anyone else (canon 983). It is not desirable for the confessor to undertake to divulge matters revealed in confession, even when the penitent gives consent. Pastoral wisdom would advise that in the event of a child or young person disclosing in confession that they have been abused, the confessor should sensitively reassure the child or young person that they are not at fault. The confessor should encourage the child or young person to disclose the abuse to an adult they trust (for example, a relative, teacher, friend) and to have that person report the abuse. The confessor must at no time act in any manner that might violate the seal or compromise the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the eyes of the faithful. When an abuser confesses to a priest previously undisclosed child abuse, the priest should advise the penitent to seek the professional help he/she requires immediately, for his/her own well-being and in order to prevent any recurrence of abuse. The priest should encourage the child or adult to repeat the information to the priest outside the Confessional so he can access the necessary help and report the matter to the Civil Authorities.