[Comments such as those by Fr. Groeschel do not help]
Prelate: bishops’ credibility on abuse is ‘shredded’
CWN – August 30, 2012
The August 30 issue of Origins includes “Help for Bishops in Rebuilding Trust,” a recent talk by Bishop Daniel Conlon of Joliet, chairman of the US bishops’ Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People.
“For the last few years I operated with the conviction that consistent implementation of the ‘Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,’ coupled with some decent publicity, would turn public opinion around,” he said at a conference of safe-environment and victims’ assistance coordinators. “I now know this was an illusion … I was wandering in a hall of mirrors.”
Stating that bishops’ “credibility on the subject of child abuse is shredded,” Bishop Conlon said that the lay diocesan employees “may have a better chance. People–in the Church, outside the Church, and hanging on the edge–need to know that real progress is being made” in the “daunting task of repairing the damage.”
Bishop Conlon also addressed the issues of the abuse of vulnerable adults, child pornography, and “boundary violations” that do not constitute abuse.
“Boundary violations by definition are not abuse and are not explicitly treated in the Charter,” he said, adding:
Whether boundary violations are covered explicitly in diocesan policies or not, they must be handled with finesse. For example, is administrative leave and public notice at the time of an investigation warranted? At what point is the violation considered sufficiently serious to render the lay person unsuitable for employment or the cleric unsuitable for ministry, at least with minors? In today’s climate, will the public revelation of a serious boundary violation leave any choice?
Additional sources for this story: Bishop Conlon: Help for Bishops in Rebuilding Trust (USCCB) www.nccbuscc.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/upload/Sec-Vac-Conference-Talk-120813.pdf