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20 November 2015, 16:48
Scotland's bishops have agreed on an action plan in response to an independent review of the Catholic Church's handling of abuse allegations, according to reports.
In August, a commission led by the Very Rev Andrew McLellan called for the church in Scotland to make an ''unmistakeable and unequivocal'' apology and said support for survivors of abuse must be its ''absolute priority''.
The commission made eight recommendations, including that justice must be done for those who have been abused and that the church's safeguarding policies and practices be completely rewritten and subject to external scrutiny.
Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, president of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland, gave a "profound apology'' that same day on behalf of all the bishops "to all those who have been harmed and who have suffered in any way as a result of actions by anyone within the Catholic Church''.
The Scottish Catholic Observer (SCO) has reported the members of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland have now agreed on a plan for implementing the McLellan recommendations.
The plan, which is said to detail how the church will overhaul its safeguarding structure for dealing with allegations of abuse, is expected to be published on the Bishops' Conference website on Sunday.
The SCO said the document outlines the church's plans to overhaul its safeguarding service, manual and training, and create an independent body to oversee the changes.
It reportedly states the church "must reach out to survivors'' of clergy abuse and involve them in the reforms.
The plan is said to have been devised with input from representatives of the General Secretariat of the Bishops' Conference and the Catholic Safeguarding Commission, with the aim of implementing the bulk of the McLellan recommendations by the end of 2017.