In the preview trailer for the CATHOLICISM series, Father Barron observes that the sex abuse scandals that have engulfed the Church arrived as a “perfect storm.” The winds and rains that accompanied that storm continue to rage. Evidence for this is as easy as entering “Catholic Church” or “Catholic Priest” into the search engine of your choice- what you will find are article after article detailing the continuing effect and endurance of the sex abuse scandals.
Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI referred to the global impact of the sex abuse scandals as akin to the ash and dust that are spewed forth from a volcano- the effect is everywhere and on everything. The innocent suffer along with the guilty. The good that the Church has done and continues to do is tainted. The Church endures, but perception of what the Church is and does has been compromised.
It has been ten years since majority of the bishops of the United States adopted what is called the Dallas Charter. The Charter details policies and procedures which are to be in place in a diocese and in Catholic institutions that are intended to protect children and young people from sexual abuse- be it from a Catholic priest or anyone who in their association with the Church serves the needs of faithful.
Today and tomorrow the Word on Fire blog will feature an assessment of the Dallas Charter from the perspective of Elizabeth Yore, an attorney who has made it her life’s work to protect children from abuse.
I asked Elizabeth Yore to describe what the Dallas Charter is and what it is supposed to accomplish. Has it been effective? What work remains to be done to protect children from sexual predators in the Church and in the broader culture? Her responses to my questions are enlightening, honest, sobering and well worth reading. Responsibility for protecting the most vulnerable among us cannot be delegated to committees or a caste of professional advocates. The abuse of children and young people by sexual predators is not someone else’s problem; it belongs to all of us. Vigilance is required, and it is the only way forward- for the Church and for the culture...