Religious Ed suspended on military bases


So, Yesterday the garrison suspended all religious education classes on our bases. All other chapel related youth activities were also suspended: no youth groups, no alter boys, no teens ushering or lectoring…nothing. We are told to be patient, that this is temporary (expected to last 5-8 weeks). What’s the hold up? Back ground checks.
In the past, it has been enough for all of the volunteers that teach/ lead religious youth activities to pass a criminal background check and take the on line child supervision course offered by the Boy Scouts. Now, the Army has decided that we also have to fill out additional forms which include releasing all of our medical and dental records to whoever…the release being valid for the next 5 years.
I am torn. The classes/ activities need to continue. It is unacceptable that the Army has reached into our Mass and told us our kids cannot serve until the adults turn over private information. I really do not know what to do: fill out the form (give to Caesar) or protest by no longer volunteering. Any thoughts?


In my opinion it makes sense to have the most rigorous background checks possible. I don’t understand why you have a beef with that especially after the tragic deaths recently.


I really don't get the medical and dental history release, I can't see how it's relevant. OTOH, the most rigorous police check is in order for all adults who work with children or are in contact with children in any capacity.


This is a process that is catching up finally with the reality of our world after the fact. Of course, it will be inconvenient and it will interrupt the classes and activities that are part of our faith but this process will help ensure that people who shouldn’t’t have access to our children may be stopped before something else horrific happens. After this most recent rampage at the Naval base it was revealed that the Navy had lightened its background checking process to save money with the result being a man who had known mental issues was given a legitimate pass to work on the base. Try to be patient and remember that this is the way we have to live these days even within our church families. I want all of us protected to the best of our abilities no matter how inconvenient. Cooperate to the best of your abilities and hang in there for the sake of the children you help with your volunteering.


Given the medical history of the Washington Naval Yard suspect, I can see that.

But dental? I don’t get that. If anyone sees an explanation, I hope they’ll post it.


My guess is nothing is meant by that. It’s just a general release that they use in all situations. Thinking like an attorney (which I am one), I think they reached into a drawer (or a computer file) and printed out/copied/put up in pdf form what they use and have used for years.


That makes sense. I was thinking of separate medical and dental releases, but it’s probably all one. Thanks!


Where are you located and which Post is doing this?


It will be interesting to know how they use this information, medical and dental. It will also be interesting to know what will be released as there is a privacy that is to be respected regarding medical, etc.
I don't understand why they had to cease altar servers unless the priest hasn't had a background check?! surely not.
My concern would not be so much as it is none of their business as to who could hack in and get my information from them. IOW, how safe is their system in keeping my info private?

This still would not have stopped the man as he had no criminal charges prior to the shooting (those making a comparison to the Navy Shooter). The charges were dropped. If they now need access to our mental health records, are they going to tell the people why they are denied the ability to volunteer? Being treated for depression? What about those wrongly diagnosed as bipolar?I don't see them releasing that info but that is interesting. The stigma surrounding mental health issues could explode imo.


That is my concern, and it depends on where this directive is coming from.

If it is coming from the Archdiocese of the Military, then yes, they have the authority to regulate liturgical ministries.

If it is coming from the DoD, then I would be very concerned that they are attempting to control who can or cannot participate in a Catholic Liturgy and to what extent they may participate. That is not a governmental function.


That’s why I asked which Post they were on. With a new poster and vague information on a combustible topic I am always a bit hesitant jump into the fire.


No it does not make sense. Medical and dental records release have nothing to do with the Charter For the Protection of Young People. Safe Environment and medical records are two different things.

I think there are some big gaps in the OP’s story. I am skeptical.


I smell something fishy here


dental records? What does that have to do with working with kids? :shrug:


Hi...Army base is in Germany, so it's not like we can just go to another parish. The form is being required by the Dod...all bases. Not all have suspended programs. From what I understand suspending the activities was a local decision. . I am just trying to balance my approach. Right now I feel like I can maintain my right to fully participate in Church ( I include RE classes) if I give up more privacy than I already have...or I can keep my privacy, and not be allowed to participate. I have nothing to hide; it's the principle of the whole thing. But, maybe it is wrong to stand on principles when they keep me from helping teach our faith??


I think you should contact the Military Archdiocese. This does not seem like something the DOD can require.


[quote="1ke, post:16, topic:339603"]
I think you should contact the Military Archdiocese. This does not seem like something the DOD can require.


I'm looking at this another way. Can't the DOD require that anyone dealing with children anywhere on a military base undergo rigorous investigation to ensure the children's safety? That would include adults who teach religious ed, regardless of religion, wouldn't it?


I agree in a teaching role, (religious ed), but the liturgy is something else, one that the government should have no say in.

The DoD does not, and should not, have the authority to define who can participate in a Catholic liturgy, and to what extent.


I know I am new here…assuming we all were at one time. I guess you cannot trust everything you read on line. What gaps can I fill in for you? I was truly just looking for some input for making this decision which, for me, is a real moral dilemma. Everyone here is understandably emotional about the whole thing and we have only been given 3 days to comply ( although I think late paperwork would eventually be processed…the deadline is supposed to speed things up).


In my book, no adult having contact with children on a military property means exactly that, regardless of the occasion. They’re not dictating who can participate in liturgy, they’re dictating what adults can have contact with children on their property.

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