Established inthe purpose of the National Review Board is to work collaboratively with the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People in preventing the sexual "National catholic review" of minors in the United States by persons in the service of the Church. The National Review Board has for several years expressed its concern that bishops not become complacent in their response to sexual abuse by the clergy. The recent revelations make it clear that the problem is much deeper.
We are saddened, angry, and hurt by what we have learned in the past few weeks. The evil of the crimes that have been perpetrated reaching into the highest levels of the hierarchy will not be stemmed simply by the creation of
National catholic review committees, policies, or procedures. What needs to happen is a genuine change in the Church's culture, specifically among the bishops themselves.
This evil has resulted from a loss of moral leadership and an abuse of power that led to a culture of silence that enabled these incidents to occur. Intimidation, fear, and the misuse of authority created an environment that was taken advantage of by clerics, including bishops, causing harm to minors, seminarians, and those most vulnerable.
The culture of silence enabled the abuse to go on virtually unchecked. Holding bishops accountable will require an independent review into the actions of the bishop when an allegation comes to light.
The National catholic review way to ensure the independence of such a review is to entrust this to the laity, as recently suggested by Cardinal DiNardo.
The NRB, composed exclusively of lay members, would be the logical group to be involved in this task. Establishing an anonymous whistleblower policy, as is found in corporations, higher education and other institutions in both the public and private sector, that would be independent of the hierarchy with participation by the laity, perhaps the NRB, who would report National catholic review to the local bishop, local law enforcement, the
National catholic review and Rome, needs to be established immediately.
Another problem that needs to be addressed is the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The Charter has been helpful in the Church's response to sexual abuse by the clergy.
However, the Charter should be understood as a living document that is in constant need of revision based on what we have learned and experienced over the years, as well as current new realities. The members of the NRB have on numerous occasions pointed out the weaknesses in the Charter given its deliberate ambiguity and its lack of inclusion of bishops.
During the most recent revision process of the Charter, many of the recommendations made by the NRB to strengthen the Charter were not incorporated for a variety of reasons. These recommendations need to be re-considered in light of the current situation, as well as the inclusion of bishops in National catholic review Charter. The NRB also believes that the statement of Episcopal Commitment is ineffective and needs to be revised into a meaningful, actionable commitment.
In particular, the notion of "fraternal correction" must outline concrete steps that will be taken when a bishop is alleged to have committed sexual abuse or has failed to respond immediately and without hesitation when a cleric is accused of sexual abuse.
To ensure that bishops undertake their obligation to act decisively when they have knowledge of incidences of sexual abuse committed by the clergy or their brother bishops, there must be substantive formation of newly appointed bishops on their responsibility as moral leaders within the Church, especially in responding to sexual abuse, something which is currently lacking. We "National catholic review" continue to work with the bishops, particularly responding to Cardinal DiNardo's request for the NRB's assistance National catholic review the proposed investigation he has called for regarding recent revelations.
In the coming weeks, the NRB will consider what recommendations to make to the bishops in light of that request. We recognize that the overwhelming majority of our current bishops have, and continue to, take the sexual abuse of minors seriously and who act accordingly by adhering to the Charter, some even going beyond these basic requirements.
However, every time one bishop fails to act, the entire National catholic review is tainted. It is time for the laity to assume courageous leadership to help the Church respond and to heal and for the bishops to listen carefully to our recommendations. More information on the National Review can be found at: DiNardo, Bishop Timothy L. Bishops To Meet Nov. By accepting this message, you will be leaving the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
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