It has been so encouraging to see laity from all over the country begin to realize that information is key in protecting children. This past year we have seen lay groups form in various dioceses, arming themselves with information and asking the questions that need to be asked to keep kids safe. Their questions will most likely be ignored, or answered by an attorney with the Bishop’s signature on the reply. The simple fact that laity are organizing and becoming informed is the progress.
The work of child protection in the Church is a rollercoaster and I was riding high recently with so many positive interactions with informed laity, but came crashing down this past week when I spoke to a woman who organizes programs for children in the Archdiocese. She had no idea what I was speaking about when I referenced The Standards of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries.
Back to the Basics
We are going to be discussing grooming and boundary violations in depth in the coming weeks and months in our posts, so we will start by asking our readers to become familiar with the Standards in their diocese. Search the diocese website, it is often posted in the section of Office of Child and Youth Protection.
While some dioceses have invoked a patron saint to guide their work on child protection, other dioceses have wording preceding their documents that is a good public relations spin. Here in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia our Standards open with a legal preamble. In Philadelphia the attorneys run the show and the Gospel is something that is read at Mass rather than put into practice when protecting the most vulnerable of our Church.
So let’s all get to work. Feel free to post the Standards of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries of your diocese in the comments section or on our Facebook page. Before we take the deep dive of examining how so much goes wrong when the dioceses ignore the grooming behavior that is literally spelled out in their own Standards, we’ll make sure that we are all starting at the same place
The Standards of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia: http://archphila.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/AOPVA-Standards-of-Minst-Behvrl-0511.pdfhttp://archphila.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/AOPVA-Standards-of-Minst-Behvrl-0511.pdf