So the Pope thinks it’s OK to hit children to discipline them.  We’ve got news for the Pope.

Hitting children has been totally discredited as a legitimate means of disciplining children, and Pope Francis should know that.

“His statement last week that ‘It’s okay to spank your children to discipline them – as long as their dignity is maintained’ is totally out of tune with the times, and we were gratified that his own sex abuse commission called him out on it,” said Kathy Lynn.

“It is absolutely outrageous that the spiritual leader of 1.2 million Catholics world-wide would advocate violence against another human being.  That is a totally inappropriate message for him to deliver to his flock.”

Kathy Lynn, a life-long advocate for ending physical punishment for children, is the chair of the steering committee for Corinne’s Quest which is a campaign under First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition, a non-partisan coalition of organizations which advocates for improved policies and resources for children and youth.

Our initial response through social media was that it’s disappointing that a person of such influence would be so unaware of the research that absolutely proves hitting children always carries a risk factor. To date, 44 countries have prohibited physical punishment of children because the risks include higher rates of aggression, delinquency, mental health problems and lowered self-esteem. Canada is not on that list of countries.

The Pope should look to the existing research before speaking on the topic. Thankfully, his sex abuse commission criticized his comments saying “there is no place for physical discipline and that the panel would make recommendations to him about protecting kids from corporal punishment.”

One of our concerns is that people will heed the first incorrect statement and miss the second refuting the value of physical punishment of children.

As the Spiritual leader for one seventh of the world population, the Pope has a responsibility to check his facts and talk to his advisors before he advises parents on an important topic such as physical punishment of children.

 First Call expands its mandate with Corinne’s Quest – to end physical punishment of children in Canada

First Call has announced the affiliation of a new campaign focused on ending physical punishment of children.

Called Corinne’s Quest in honour of Corinne Robertshaw, a lawyer who dedicated the latter part of her life to this issue, the organization’s Mission Statement is “to promote the raising of children in a positive, non-violent manner and to press for repeal of Section 43 of the Criminal Code.

“We are absolutely delighted to have Corinne’s Quest join with us at First Call,” said First Call Executive Director Adrienne Montani.  “Their mandate nicely complements our other campaigns to the benefits of Canada’s youngest citizens, and they have assembled an impressive group of activists to their steering committee. Corrine’s Quest is destined to have a major impact on the lives of children in Canada.”

Kathy Lynn, a parenting speaker and lifelong advocate for ending physical punishment of children, chairs the Corinne’s Quest Steering Committee.  “We have a dynamic blend of members on our committee who are working in various fields of child services, plus a number of community leaders who are now retired.” Said Lynn.  “Watch out!  Those retired members have time on their hands and experience in their background, so as a group we believe we can move mountains.

Lynn points out that at various times in our history, Canadian laws have sanctioned hitting slaves, apprentices, prisoners, dogs, wives and children.

“Today in Canada, children are the only group left on that list.”

She said in addition to the repeal of Section 43, the group also intends to educate Canadians on the many progressive and effective non-violence ways parents can raise their children to be responsible self-disciplined adults.

“We are honoured to have an organization of the status of First Call accept us as a campaign under their wing,” said Lynn.  “They are the acknowledged leaders in pressing for the needs of children to have the first call on our country’s resources. We are delighted to join with the First Call family to improve the situation of children everywhere in Canada.

For further information or comment contact:

Adrienne Montani, Executive Director, First Call, 604-877-4932

Kathy Lynn, Chair, Corinne’s Quest, 604-258-9074