Title: Change in Vatican culture
Monica Applewhite is one of the foremost experts on screening, monitoring and policy development for the prevention of sexual abuse and risk management for those with histories of sexual offending.
Is there much of a difference for how these cases are handled by religious institutes vs. dioceses?"Yes and no. Both the dioceses and the religious have committed themselves to reporting abuse to the civil authorities, to responding pastorally to victims and to investigating all abuse allegations.In these cases, the dioceses are meant to follow the charter, and the religious are to follow the accreditation standards. Religious are also required to follow the charter with respect to prohibiting all public ministry, but this requirement is also in the accreditation standards.The primary distinction is probably in terms of what happens to the individual priest or religious who is found to have sexually abused a minor. The charter clearly states that clerics who have sexually offended a minor or minors cannot be in any form of public ministry, but the document does not address standards for their supervision if they remain in the priesthood.
Religious accreditation actually has specific standards to address the requirements for supervision, support and accountability system for these men. "
In the Church’s handling of this issue, can you tell me what the Church has done right?
"The Church in the U.S. is the first large-scale organization to take two important steps toward healing and prevention of future incidents of abuse.
We are the first to conduct a full prevalence study to determine how many incidents, how many victims and how many perpetrators of abuse there were from 1950 to 2002.
The John Jay College [of Criminal Justice] conducted this comprehensive research, and it is published on the USCCB website. Anyone who truly wants to know “the problem” we are facing should review the findings.
Secondly, the Roman Church is the first institution of its size to implement a full program of accountability to ensure the implementation of its reform efforts. Again, an outside team, the Gavin Group, has conducted the audits of the dioceses.
Large-scale organizational change, deep cultural change simply does not happen without accountability."
Is there much of a difference between what happens when a priest is accused today and what happened prior to 2002 (when the charter and norms were adopted)?
"In most situations, no.
The reforms of the Church began long before 2002. As laws changed, as understanding of sexual abuse and sexual offenders developed, so did the procedures of the Church in most local dioceses and communities.
It was 1992 when the bishops first began following the “Five Principles,” which included pastoral outreach to victims, investigations and open communication with communities.
Published in 1992, the bishops’ five principles were:
1) respond promptly to all allegations of abuse,
2) relieve the alleged offender promptly of his ministerial duties and refer him for appropriate medical evaluation and intervention,
3) comply with the obligations of civil law as regards reporting of the incident,
4) reach out to the victims and their families, and
5) deal as openly as possible with the members of the community.
What changed in 2002 was a dramatic improvement in uniformity, both within and across dioceses and religious communities. The toughest situations have always been when the allegation is against an extremely talented and charismatic priest, religious or lay minister. These are the situations in any organization that are the most divisive, the most difficult and the most likely to be handled improperly.
When the allegation seems impossible, in the absence of accountability, there is often a temptation to hope the situation will just “go away.”
In 2002, listening to stories of victims who were abused by just this type of offender, the bishops and religious superiors made commitments that would end “the exceptions.”
These commitments and the associated accountability also addressed the fact that some leaders had simply elected not to follow the guidance of the five principles, and that also brought greater uniformity to the handling of allegations. "
"Since 2001, the system has become much more uniform. There is a “form” of how to write up the case so that all allegations and the outcomes of investigations are clearly documented. Many trials are held locally, and the process is much faster.
Even more importantly, the CDF gives support and credibility to bishops and superiors who are involved in disciplinary procedures, from removal from ministry to laicization.
I still believe the rights of priests and religious are respected and upheld, but there is a greater attention to the needs of the community to be safe from harm."
[These are just quotes, read full interview here, from 2010 but interesting nonetheless..]
Fascinating interview with Dr.Monica Applewhite (think about how JW organisation compares)..
Pretty sure the WTS won't be requiring her services again any time soon. :smirk: