A new apostolic letter issued today by Pope Francis, Vox estis lux mundi, expands the Church’s response to abuse by establishing worldwide standards for reporting abuse against minors and vulnerable adults, including by bishops and religious superiors.
CMSM welcomes the guidance provided by the document and will undertake a review to ensure the national safeguarding standards for religious institutes of men in the United States reflect the new provisions in this document.
CMSM is committed to prevention, accountability, healing and reconciliation, and has worked since 2002 through its members, the leaders of men’s religious institutes, in partnership with other national organizations, to promote the protection of minors. Efforts include education, awareness, the development of national standards for religious institutes, a National Advisory Council of experts, and a Director of Safeguarding Initiatives.
Deacon Steven DeMartino is the new Director of Safeguarding Initiatives for the Conference of Major Superiors of Men. He will focus on promoting and sustaining a culture of safety with men’s religious institutes in the United States, and will build upon safeguarding efforts undertaken by CMSM since 2002.
Deacon DeMartino is a permanent deacon for the Archdiocese of New York. He has deep experience with priest wellness, and mental and behavioral health concerns.
He has been active in Chapter and Assembly facilitation for Religious institutes and Societies of Apostolic Life, served on several review boards for Religious, provided consultation to leadership teams of Religious Institutes, taught at the seminary level, and is engaged in parish ministry and retreat work.
Prior positions include coordinator of the vocations office for the Catholic Foreign Missionary Association, assistant vice-president of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, and leadership roles at several behavioral health care centers.
He holds a bachelor’s in psychology from SUNY Buffalo, and an MPA from CUNY Baruch College, and has several certifications in counseling. He has supported leadership teams and Religious in both planning and direct support on safeguarding.
May 1 is the third annual Religious Brothers Day. In anticipation of this annual celebration of the life and vocation of Catholic religious brothers, CMSM has launched a new website, religiousbrothers.org. This site includes information about brothers, links to community websites, profiles, and upcoming events, such as the 2020 National Brothers Symposium.
Religious brothers and their supporters are invited to join in the conversation on social media. Share your prayers, vocation, celebrations, and thanks to Brothers who have made a positive difference in your life. #religiousbrothersday
Br. Larry Schatz, FSC, and Fr. Mark Padrez, OP
Dominican Father Mark Padrez is the new executive director of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, effective April 1, 2019. He had been serving as president of CMSM and just completed his second term as provincial for the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus.
Brother Larry Schatz, FSC, Visitor for the Christian Brothers of the Midwest, assumed presidency of CMSM. He had been vice-president.
Born and raised in Nogales, AZ, in 1963, Father Padrez was a student at the University of Arizona when he met the Dominicans at the university’s Newman Center. He joined the Order in 1987 and made his first profession the next year. After studies at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley, CA, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1995. He served at Holy Rosary Church, Antioch, CA, and at the Newman Center at the University of California of San Diego. He also served as the director of vocations, then socius of the Province before being elected as Prior Provincial in 2011. He was re-elected in 2015.
As president-elect and then president of CMSM, Mark was deeply engaged in the mission of CMSM and in projects such as the transition to our new national office. He also represented CMSM in meetings with Vatican dicasteries, most recently in March 2019, and the USCCB. He is the first Hispanic executive director of CMSM.
Br. Larry Schatz, FSC, and Fr. Mark Padrez, OP, arrive in Rome.
The executive committee of CMSM’s Board of Directors is in Rome for CMSM’s annual visit. Over the next week, the leadership team will meet with leaders of several Vatican offices whose work relates to the life and ministry of men religious. They will share updates and concerns from CMSM members in the United States and get updates from the dicasteries.
On the trip this year are Fr. Mark Padrez, OP; Bro. Larry Schatz, FSC; Fr. Tim Kesicki, SJ; and Br. Sean Moffett, CFC.
CMSM released the following statement this week following Pope Francis’ remarks on abuse against women religious by some clergy:
We are grateful to Pope Francis for shining a light on the tragic mistreatment of women religious by clergy wherever it has occurred. This abuse against our sisters in faith and service is inexcusable and indefensible. We call for an end to abuse wherever it occurs. We stand in solidarity with women religious who give so selflessly to raise up those in need across the globe. May we also always raise up their gifts and dignity.
New CARA research released for the World Day of Consecrated Life on Feb. 2, suggests good news for religious vocations. Catholic News Service reports that CARA researchers found 240 men and women had professed religious life in 2018, up from 200 in the prior survey. Seventy-one percent of CMSM major superiors responded to the annual survey this past fall.
Among the findings for men religious:
- Average age of responding religious of the 2018 Profession Class of 2018 was 38 years old
- Average age when they first considered a religious vocation: 18
- 78% of men and women religious were encouraged to consider religious life. For men, 51% were encouraged by a parish priest, 46% by a friend, 39% by a religious brother or sister, 38% by their mother, and 37% by their mother
- Ethnicity: 61% Caucasian; 17%, Asian/Pacific Islander; 12%, Latino; and 10% African/African American/Black
- 90% grew up Catholic
- 54% finished college before entering religious life
In releasing the report, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, spoke to those discerning a vocation to consecrated life: “Oftentimes, those discerning a vocation search for the perfect community. The Lord, who created every heart, knows of the way he is calling each person to serve him. Trust that he will lead you to the vocation that is perfect for you.”
Read the full report and press release.
CMSM is launching a new safeguarding webinar series in mid-February. Open to CMSM member institutes and their staffs, the free monthly webinars will cover communications, pastoral care, the use of restorative justice for community healing, and file reviews. Email us for details and registration information. The first webinar is Feb. 14.
Mark your calendar now for 2019. Join us for these national events, and check for an email from your region chair with spring region dates.
This year, our National Assembly will be an extraordinary gathering so major superiors of men and their councils are encouraged to attend. We will gather to look ahead: who religious are today within our charisms and as a “symphony of charisms,” what we are called to be, and how best to move forward at this moment in religious life. This convocation will replace the usual pre-assembly workshop and assembly format.
If you have questions about any of these events, or need to check your region or get your region chair’s contact information, please contact us at 301-588-4030 or by email.
In light of recent public discussion regarding the publishing of names of clergy accused of sexual abuse, the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) has issued a letter to the leaders of U.S. institutes of men religious on the topic.
The letter, signed by Dominican Father Mark Padrez, CMSM president, and Capuchin Father John Pavlik, CMSM executive director, noted, “Since 2002, CMSM has sought to encourage best practices of members in the area of child protection.” The letter went on to say that CMSM recognizes each institute must make its own decision, and offered several points to consider in that discernment:
- Revisit this issue with consideration about what disclosure would mean for victims as well as your institute. You may wish to consult civil and canonical counsel.
- Reach out to and engage with bishops in areas where men who have been accused have served.
- Be cognizant of CMSM’s Standards of Accreditation and the USCCB’s Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchical Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacon that require that major superiors communicate information regarding allegations of sexual abuse of a minor to the bishops where the abuse occurred and where the men reside.
- If publishing a list, consult with your canonical and civil counsel in its development. Please note that Praesidium’s Standards of Accreditation distinguish clearly between allegations that have been established and those that have not. An allegation is established when “there is objective certainty that the accusation is true and that an incident of sexual abuse of a minor has occurred.”
CMSM has actively worked to support healing and child safety policies since 2002. Its child protection efforts include education, a National Advisory Council composed primarily of lay experts, a commitment to prevention and healing, and standards of accreditation for religious institutes developed in partnership with Praesidium.
The Conference of Major Superiors of Men (cmsm.org | @cmsmshares | @cmsmtweets) is the national organization supporting U.S. leaders of Roman Catholic men’s religious institutes, monastic communities, and societies of apostolic life. As the common voice for the leaders of these organizations, CMSM promotes dialogue and collaboration in service to over 16,000 religious priests and brothers in the United States.
Media contact: Susan Gibbs, 202.525.9554 and firstname.lastname@example.org