Stop Sex Abuse in the Catholic Church

Basilica_of_the_National_Shrine_of_the_Immaculate_Conception_By_John_Workman

Target: Archbishop Joseph Edward Kurtz, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Goal: Demand that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops require clergy to report all sex abuse claims to authorities.

Earlier this month, French Monsignor Tony Anatrella released a training document for new bishops. Regarding allegations of sex abuse within the clergy, the document states that “it is not necessarily the duty of the bishop to report [sex abuse] suspects to authorities, the police or state prosecutors.”

This statement is in direct opposition to Pope Francis’ suggested guidelines in the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors that aims to create a tribunal to internally judge cases in which bishops have failed to report sex abuse claims.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops can do better for victims of sex abuse at the hands of members of the clergy.

By law, teachers and other professionals who suspect domestic violence or abuse in a child’s home are required to report it to authorities. This practice should be extended to include bishops of the Catholic Church as it pertains to sex abuse — an issue that has plagued the Church for years, but often gets swept under the rug.

Demand that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops require the clergy to report on all sex abuse claims to legal authorities.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Archbishop Kurtz,

Catholic bishops must be required to report sex abuse claims as it pertains to clergy members.

Monsignor Tony Anatrella’s recently published training document for new bishops allows sex abuse claims to be swept under the rug. By not requiring bishops to report claims to legal authorities, this cycle of abuse is quietly condoned as long as it stays out of the public eye.

Regardless of religious beliefs and status, sex abuse is a crime and victims – especially minors – have the right to be protected to the furthest extent of the law. Other professions, including teachers, doctors and nurses, are legally obligated to report signs of abuse and to act in the best interest of minors. By focusing first on the victims and making them a priority over the ministry hierarchy, this abuse that has plagued the Catholic Church for decades can be significantly curtailed.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops can do better for these victims and prevent further instances of abuse by holding the clergy accountable and responsible for their own actions and the actions of their peers.

I urge you to hold your bishops and clergy members accountable for sex abuse crimes and require each allegation to be reported to lawful authorities.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: John Workman

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