What is the Church's response in wake of child abuse charges?

I was dismayed to read this op-ed in my alma mater:

trumanindex.com/home/index.cfm?event=displayArticle&ustory_id=b2f845f3-90e1-447e-8f92-c00c24451106

Rather than approach with the critical eye towards actionable reform, the author appeals to fear and belies an obvious anti-Catholic sentiment.

I'm working on a response and I'd like to include specific examples of what the Church has and hasn't done in handling these cases, and in the wake of the abuse scandal.

Can anyone offer some research points? Much appreciated.

The Catholic Church has done more to protect children than almost any other organization in the United States. Consider:

[LIST]
*]Safe Environment training is taking place in 193 dioceses/eparchies of the country. Over 2 million adults have been trained to recognize the behavior of offenders and what to do about it.
*] Background checks are conducted on Church personnel who have contact with children. Over 2 million volunteers and employees; 52,000 clerics; 6,205 candidates for ordination have had their backgrounds evaluated.
*] All dioceses/eparchies have Codes of Conduct spelling out what is acceptable behavior. This serves to let people know what can and cannot be done as well as letting others know what behavior can be expected. It encourages the reporting of suspicious behavior.
*] All dioceses/eparchies have Victim Assistance Coordinators, assuring victims that they will be heard. In 2009, $6,536,109 was spent on therapy for the victims of clergy sexual abuse.
*] All dioceses/eparchies have Safe Environment Coordinators who assure the ongoing
compliance to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
*] Bishops are meeting with victims.
*] Dioceses/eparchies have Healing Masses, retreats for victim/survivors and other
reconciliation events.
*] There is a Zero Tolerance policy on abusers since 2002. If a credible accusation is made against a cleric, they are permanently removed from ministry regardless of how long ago the offense occurred.
*] Dioceses/eparchies require intensive background screening as well as psychological
testing for those wishing to enter the seminary.
[/LIST]

The Catholic Church has worked hard to protect children. Much has done but more needs to be done. Until child sexual abuse is no longer a part of society, the Church will continue its efforts to stop it.

catholicbook.org/ocyp/capmonth/what-has-cc-done-stop-sexual-abuse.pdf

Catholic News Service reported that, by 2008, the U.S. church had “trained 5.8 million children to recognize and report abuse. It had run criminal checks on 1.53 million volunteers and employees, 162,700 educators, 51,000 clerics and 4,955 candidates for ordination. It had trained 1.8 million clergy, employees and volunteers in creating a safe environment for children.”

*Catholic News Service (December 19, 2008 – January 1, 2009). "We dare not become complacent on abuse, says U.S. bishops’ new child protection head. Florida Catholic.
*


The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) perceived a lack of adequate procedures for the prevention of sexual abuse of minors, the reporting of allegations of such abuse and the handling of those reports. In June 2002, the USCCB moved to address these deficiencies by promulgating a Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People that pledged the Catholic Church in the U.S. to providing a “safe environment” for all children in Church-sponsored activities. The thrust of the charter was the adoption of a “zero tolerance” policy for sexual abuse.

beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/Catholic/2002/06/Insiders-Guide-To-The-Catholic-Bishops-Conference.aspx

boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2005/06/18/catholic_bishops_retain_zero_tolerance_policy/

The Charter instituted reforms to prevent future abuse by requiring background checks for Church employees.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (2005). “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People”. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Retrieved 8 October 2008.

usccb.org/ocyp/charter.shtml

The Charter requires dioceses faced with an allegation to alert the authorities, conduct an investigation and remove the accused from duty.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (2005). “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People”. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Retrieved 8 October 2008.

“Scandals in the church: The Bishops’ Decisions; The Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People”. The New York Times. 2002-06-15. Retrieved 2008-02-12.

nytimes.com/2002/06/15/us/scandals-church-bishops-decisions-bishops-charter-for-protection-children-young.html?scp=1sq=Charter+for+the+Protection+of+Children+and+Young+People&st=nyt

The Vatican instituted reforms to prevent future United States abuse by requiring background checks for Church employees

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (2005). “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People”. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Retrieved 8 October 2008.

and issued new rules disallowing ordination of men with “deep–seated homosexual tendencies”. The US National Review Board cited the preponderance of adolescent males among the victims of clerical sexual abuse of minors in its report.

Filteau, Jerry (2004). “Report says clergy sexual abuse brought ‘smoke of Satan’ into church”. Catholic News Service. Retrieved 10 March 2008.

Pope Benedict XVI (2005). “Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders”. Vatican. Retrieved 2008-03-09.

They now require dioceses faced with an allegation to alert the authorities, conduct an investigation and remove the accused from duty.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (2005). “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People”. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Retrieved 8 October 2008.

“Scandals in the church: The Bishops’ Decisions; The Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People”. The New York Times. 2002-06-15. Retrieved 2008-02-12.


There are strong child protection systems in places in Ireland as well. According to this article:

*The Catholic Church in Ireland now operates arguably the most robust child protection system in the country, something that is rarely acknowledged. The public still appears to believe that the Church has learned nothing, and done nothing. This is simply not true.
*
timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article7068604.ece

I see no reason to believe this same system has not been adopted in the rest of Europe.

I can’t find any information regarding reforms to South America, Oceania, Asia. Could someone find information about the child protection systems, or what the Churches have done there to stop these abuses from happening?

Although the recent actions of the Church are admirable, this might not save it when it comes to a civil suit. The tort committed by the church would have been its unwillingness to act prior to the scandal blowing up. All the years that it kept the child abuse hidden and failed to adopt procedures to deal with the issue will count against it.

Furthermore, it does not seem that the church has been as vigilant and forthcoming as it should be even to the present day. Father Hullermann was an active priest until a couple of weeks ago, even though psychological evaluations had urgently asked the church to keep him away from children.

Unfortunately, it seems that the church will face many tough years ahead. This is very sad for me since the church has been an important part of my life. Fortunately, the Iraq Chaldean Church will be somewhat protected from the popular backlash, since the bravery of its priests and leaders during the last decades has earned it the respect of the people.

CS

[quote="lemonbeam, post:4, topic:192035"]
I can't find any information regarding reforms to South America, Oceania, Asia. Could someone find information about the child protection systems, or what the Churches have done there to stop these abuses from happening?

[/quote]

Sadly, all of these reforms - in the US and elsewhere - came about long after the horse was well out of the barn.

[quote="dixieagle, post:6, topic:192035"]
Sadly, all of these reforms - in the US and elsewhere - came about long after the horse was well out of the barn.

[/quote]

Very, very true.

It’s better late than never.

Yay Lemonbeam.

[quote="Soutane, post:9, topic:192035"]
Yay Lemonbeam.

[/quote]

Well done Lemon Beam. The rate of child abuse is dramatically decreasing in the clergy. The Church now watches it carefully, and reports the incidents to the government and even issues an annual study on the problem. So what about child abuse by teachers, bus drivers, coaches, pediatricians? Is anyone watching, pressuring or keeping statistics on those groups?? :blush: Is anyone paying attention, or do some groups receive more scrutiny?

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