Tuesday, February 14, 2017

EVEN ALCHEMY CAN'T TURN IRON INTO GOLD

Posted by Bob

Image result for boilerplateImage result for gold standardCoadjutor Bishop Michael
Byrnes has tossed some "boilerplate" on the table and held a press conference to tell us that it was the "gold standard" on sexual abuse policy. The eighteen page document is called the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. (The prolixity of the document suggests that the scrivener was a lawyer paid by the word!)[Read it here.]


The Charter has three parts: the main body of the Charter, Essential Norms for Diocesan/ Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons and A Statement of Episcopal Commitment.

Image result for cookbookCompare the parts of the "gold standard" set out below with excerpts from the Archdiocese of Boston CHILD PROTECTION POLICY. [Read it here.] and you'll see that what CAB Byrnes tossed out is not and cannot be the sex abuse policy of this archdiocese.  The three parts of the Charter tell bishops what their policies must contain. Thus CAB Byrnes has not adopted a policy but merely the directions for what our policy must conform to if we are to follow the USCCB.  In other words, the it would take some high powered alchemy to turn the iron in Byrnes' boilerplate into gold.



Here's the "gold standard"

To Promote Healing and Reconciliation with Victims/Survivors of Sexual Abuse of Minors

"ARTICLE 2. Dioceses/eparchies are to have policies and procedures in place to respond promptly to any allegation where there is reason to believe that sexual abuse of a minor has occurred. Dioceses/eparchies are to have a competent person or persons to coordinate assistance for the immediate pastoral care of persons who report having been sexually abused as minors by clergy or other church personnel. The procedures for those making a complaint are to be readily available in printed form in the principal languages in which the liturgy is celebrated in the diocese/eparchy and be the subject of public announcements at least annually."
***

Essential Norms for Diocesan/ Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons

Image result for eparchyImage result for bishop byrnes"2. Each diocese/eparchy will have a written policy on the sexual abuse of minors by priests and deacons, as well as by other church personnel. This policy is to comply fully with, and is to specify in more detail, the steps to be taken in implementing the requirements of canon law, particularly CIC, canons 1717-1719, and CCEO, canons 1468-1470. A copy of this policy will be filed with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops within three months of the effective date of these norms. Copies of any eventual revisions of the written diocesan/eparchial policy are also to be filed with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops within three months of such modifications."
[Read the entire "gold standard", i.e. the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People here .]

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SECTION 5 Civil Reporting Requirements [Boston]

Image result for boston5.1 Who Must Report? Any Archdiocesan personnel, including those who do not work or volunteer with children, who has reason to believe or suspects that any child has been the victim of physical abuse, sexual abuse, sexual assault or neglect shall make a report to the appropriate civil authorities, identified in Sec. 5.3, and to the appropriate Archdiocesan authorities, identified in Sec. 6. The sole exception is that ordained priests shall not report any information subject to the priest-penitent privilege.
***
5.2 What Must be Reported? 
***
Image result for you don't know beans till you've been to boston5.3 To Whom Should Reports be Made? Reports of abuse or neglect alleged to have occurred in Massachusetts shall be reported to the local law enforcement agency and/or the local Department of Children and Families depending on the circumstances presented. This reporting is in addition to internal Archdiocesan reporting requirements (see Section 6). Contact information for the appropriate authorities for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and each county within in the Archdiocese can be found in Appendix A. 
***
5.4 What Specific Information Should be Reported? 5.5 et seq. ***

[Read the entire Archdiocese of Boston CHILD PROTECTION POLICY here.]
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When CAB Byrnes does get around to drafting our sex abuse policy item 2. of A Statement of Episcopal Commitment deserves special mention:

Image result for bishop tomas camachoImage result for bishop tomas camacho"2. We will apply the requirements of the Charter also to ourselves, respecting always Church law as it applies to bishops. Therefore, if a bishop is accused of the sexual abuse of a minor, the accused bishop is obliged to inform the Apostolic Nuncio. If another bishop becomes aware of the sexual abuse of a minor by another bishop or of an allegation of the sexual abuse of a minor by a bishop, he too is obliged to inform the Apostolic Nuncio and comply with applicable civil laws."   That bears repeating:

Image result for reportIf another bishop becomes aware of the sexual abuse of a minor by another bishop or of an allegation of the sexual abuse of a minor by a bishop, he too is obliged to inform the Apostolic Nuncio and comply with applicable civil laws."  



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