Praesidium Inc. and Protecting Children


An organization called Praesidium Inc. has been hired to introduce restrictions on religious communities and diocese throughtout our country.
Please help me with a question regarding communities that have been a rich source of vocations in the past, particularly monastic communities, and what might happen to these communities if restrictions hamper purely religious experiences for young men.
I grew up visiting one such community where vocations flowed through programs for young boys who would stay with these good men of faith for weeks or even an entire summer. I understand that restrictions imposed by Praesidium, with the blessing of the particular diocese, are now being imposed on monastic communities throughout our country. These so-called “protections” have brought an end to faith finding visits by young men, and henceforth an expected drop in religious vocations. How do we parents who are inclined to introduce our children to the religious life come to terms with this call to “protect children” that has simultaneously terminated a child’s exposure to the lives of good men of faith?
I look forward to a healthy and informative discussion,

In Christ,


Here is their website.

What do you mean “they were hired”? Who hired them?

It sounds like they can be hired by an organization to ensure safeguards are in place to prevent abuses. In other words, they don’t just come along and target a religious group (or any ther group) but rather, they are asked to do so, as a consultant. No?

So, in response to your comment about allowing your children to visit certain religious communities, would it not be that community which hires Praesidium to ensure there are no circumstances in which their contact with youth may be misconstrued? In this case, I would consider it prudent on the part of religious communities to keep themselves out of harms way, by putting into place standards for contact with youth.

I am blessed to be associated with a priestly order with very strong standards for their contact with youth and with members of the opposite sex. If a group holds themselves to very high standards, like not driving in a car with the youth, or with someone of the opposite sex, any potential for scandal can be avoided.

Please correct me if I have misunderstood the mission of this group.



Having received their training, it does not enforce undue restrictions on a community or on a parish. And like the previous poster said, who hired them? Now they do train specific members of a parish (typically staff) or community to provide the training they put forth but they don’t target any group and demand they buy their services.

Besides, I have yet to see a vocations encounter weekend that allows anyone under the age of 18. You seem to putting forth a lot of unfounded conjecture without any actual information and evidence. And vocations took a hit long before this company came about.


Just to clarify my own post, where I said “It sounds like they can be hired by an organization to ensure safeguards are in place to prevent abuses”, I should have said "It sounds like they can be hired by an organization to ensure safeguards are in place to prevent abuses, or any accusations of abuse".**

In other words, if a priest or brother never gets into a car with a teenage boy, that boy can never accuse them of anything improper.

The Catholic church has experienced enough scandal, it makes sense to improve standards, and this group sounds like its purpose is to provide the training necessary, if hired.



To be more specific, a particular diocese has chosen to live by the rules set by this Praesidium and impose these rules on all parishes within the diocese. Within this diocese is a monstic order that has been a light of faith shining for young men under the age of 18 for quite some time. Parents could leave their son with these good men for weeks at a time, somewhat like a religious camp where they would work in the field or with cattle while learning about the Catholic faith from highly learned men. But now, with the new rules put into effect thru Praesidium, this program cannot happen. And according to these strict rules, if they refuse to sign on to this “protection”, the priests of this monstery cannot celebrate the mass anywhere else within the diocese, nor any other dicosese that abides by the rules set by Praesidium. This will destroy this religious community. And yes, vocations have been withering in the past few decades, but now we can surely expect even less. As is the case so often, we step so far in the other direction, now we manage to avoid children being harmed by harming them in a different way.

Again, I thank you for your response.


You know, until you actually name the diocese that has undertaken what you say, it’s all hearsay and means nothing.

Just because a parents were able to drop their kids off at a monastery and it supposedly fostered vocations leaves a lot of the whole story out. This just doesn’t sound real. Now, I’m aware of minor seminaries where high school age boys could attend seminary high school and some college (depended on the seminary program and how the diocese and bishop ran it) before going onto the major seminary but most if not all of those closed in the 1960s and 1970s (of this I am not entirely sure).

So, if there was a program that allowed parents to drop off their minor children, it would most likely have died out along with the minor seminaries. But times have changed. Now could this monastery have some sort of vocation encounter weekend? It’s certainly possible. Just because now the time that an adolescent male is left with non-family adults is limited and must have the parents’ consent is much like any other camp these days. There is nothing wrong with that.

Besides, what teenager knows at 13 that he wants to be a monk? Or 15? Now, I’m sure there are those who start considering their vocations around that age but rarely do they make a definitive decision about their vocation at that age.

So this monastery has to go through training to learn to look for signs of potential abuse. I’ve done the training. There is nothing problematic with it at all. Definitely nothing that would prevent vocations.

My impression from your posts is that you don’t like the fact that Praesidium has been hired to help this diocese protect the vulnerable against potential abuse. Why is that?


I am sorry for posting so late in the game, and probably the interest in this issue died out last month. But your last statement needs a response, as it hints at something that is most repugnant.
You asked, "you don’t like the fact that Praesidium has been hired to help this diocese protect the vulnerable against potential abuse. Why is that?"
Wow, that is an ugly accusation. Of course, I would do anything to help the vulnerable against those who prey on our children. The Church has survived thru worse than this latest scandal, but I think we all believe the most horrific part of this was the way in which the local bishops handled the issue, especially when they decided to use psychiatrists who ultimately cared little about the attacks the Church ultimately faced. Now we seem to be setting new rules based on ANOTHER outside group, rules that would harm the goodness in religious men and women. One priest I know could not even have his niece visit and go for a walk with her without an escort. We all know what kind of men and what kind of sexual preference was the problem, but the seminaries continue to be packed with such disturbed men.
I’m sorry you felt the need to get ugly by questioning why I might not want to protect children. I needed to respond so you could at least know how disgusting I felt was the accusation. I will find an answer to this question elsewhere. If you read this, no need to respond.
Thanks anyway.


Don’t worry about being late in replying, real life happens and responding takes a backseat.

What you have posted amounts to hearsay and no real facts. That I have a problem with. I think you fighting fires when there isn’t even a hint of smoke. You seem to think, at least from what I have gleened from your posts, that by completing this training, that massive and horrible irreversible changes will happen. That hasn’t happened.

So a priest has to have an escort when walking with his niece. If he complied, it means he understands the environment we currently live in, not that he specifically is a threat. And if the seminaries are packed with disturbed men, that is the disturbed individual’s fautlt for hiding their problems and any other that may cover it up. I know several seminarians. They had to go through a pretty rigourous and intensive process just to be considered to be allowed to apply to the seminary. So, again, you are making baseless accusations.

The company has done extensive research and studies in the field they are providing training for. They know what they are talking about. And I’ve done studies, research, using many of the same studies they use in my own studies. Sexual orientation is one factor but the main thing is that the individuals that hurt children choose to do so not as their sexual orientation but that they are so mentally disturbed as to think “loving” children in a sexual manner is okay. While the vast majority of those that hurt children were ephebephiles (homosexuals who prey on adolescent males) there were also pedophiles (those that prey on children under the age of 13) and pederasts (those that prey on boys over 13 but are not homosexual in orientation).

The problem I have is that you seem to want to find a monster where this is none. You talk about wanting to protect children and then lambast an organization whose sole purpose is to do just that. Like I said, I’ve gone through the training. I’ve done several trainings regarding the detection and prevetion of child abuse. They end up being very similar but there is nothing wrong with them and they don’t cause massive, irreversible changes in the organizations that used them.

You have a bigger problem than this particular organization. You need to figure that out rather than keep targeting this particular organization.


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