Topic: Protection of Minors

How the Rome Conference on ‘Child Dignity in the Digital World’ Opened My Eyes

Jesus with the Children

 

from Aleteia – English Edition

by Fr. Joshan Ridrigues

A very important conference took place in Rome October 3-6, 2017, at the Gregorian University, hosted by the University’s Center for Child Protection. I was privileged to be part of the proceedings as a member of the Communications Team, for which I had signed up as a volunteer. The conference was titled “Child Dignity in the Digital World” and focused on understanding and creating innovative solutions to tackle abuse and violence perpetrated against minors on the internet, or in real life (using the internet as a tool). The conference was held in partnership with the WeProtect Global Alliance and Telefono Azzuro.

Though I was aware to a certain extent of the existence of the problem, the gravity of the situation eluded me until this conference. This was a huge eye-opener, and we owe it to our children and future generations to make the digital continent a safe and secure place for them.

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Media Release: New Chair and Vice Chair Elected to the CMSM National Advisory Council

Jesus with the Children

 

Board and Officers of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) announce that the National Advisory Council (NAC) has elected a new Chair and Vice Chair

We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the extraordinary quality, expertise and generosity of these two new officers of the National Advisory Council. The NAC is similar to the National Review Board (NRB) of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB). The NAC is an independent panel of nationally recognized experts who volunteer their time and which advises CMSM on all matters related to the protection of minors for religious institutes of men in and throughout the United States. Dr. Len Sperry will replace Dr. Kathleen McChesney as Chair and Steve Levatino will replace Dr. Rolando Diaz.

Len Sperry, M.D., Ph.D., D.Min. is Professor and Director of Clinical Training at Florida Atlantic University, and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He is board certified in psychiatry, preventive medicine, and clinical psychology. He has consulted with religious orders and dioceses throughout the U.S. on the health and well-being of priests and other ministry personnel. Among his 1000+ professional publications are Sex, Priestly Ministry and the Church: Understanding and Treating Sexual Addiction and The Inner Life of Priests, both of which received best book of the year awards from the Catholic Press Association.

Steven Levatino, Esq. has practiced law since 1991 and has a wide breadth of experience in business law, litigation, and church law. He practiced as a partner in one of the largest firms in Texas for 13 years. He has had extensive experience prosecuting and defending sex abuse claims in state and federal court. He is rated as an AV Preeminent® attorney. AV Preeminent® is a significant rating accomplishment – a testament to the fact that his peers rank him at the highest level of professional ability and ethical standards. He also has been elected as a Fellow to the Texas Bar Foundation. Membership in the foundation is reserved for the top 1/3 of 1% of Texas attorneys. Election to the Fellows is one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon a member of the State Bar of Texas.

Fr. Brian Terry, President of CMSM stated, “These are extraordinary and talented experts who have graciously offered their services to the religious of the United States and to the mission of the Church. The good work that happens here creates a ripple effect elsewhere throughout the world.”

Download the media release.

Children of priests step out of the shadows, and the Catholic church responds

Jesus with the Children

 

from The Boston Globe

The proactive work of CMSM regarding efforts to ratify a set of principles for priests who father children is highlighted in this article which addresses the circumstances of children fathered by Catholic priests and their efforts to achieve redress from the Catholic Church.

Fr. Gerald McGlone, S.J., Ph.D., CMSM’s Associate Director for the Protection of Minors is quoted in the article highlighting recent efforts by the bishops of Ireland to agree to principles which state that priests who father children are to take “personal, legal, moral and financial responsibility” for their children, and to include the child’s mother in all decisions about the child’s welfare. He indicated a similar approach to CMSM’s efforts to approve a set of principles around this need in the near future.

Read the full article.

Pope candidly admits Church ‘arrived late’ in confronting abuse

Jesus with the Children

by Phillip Pullella – Reuters

September 21, 2017

Pope Francis, in some of his most candid and personal comments on the sexual abuse of children by priests, said on Thursday that the Catholic Church had “arrived late” in dealing with the problem.

Francis, speaking in unscripted remarks to a commission advising him on how to root out sexual abuse, also acknowledged that early in his papacy he had made one bad call in being too lenient with an Italian priest who later went on to abuse again.

He also said he had decided to change current procedures for dealing with abusive priests by eliminating appeals trials in cases where there was definitive proof.

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Father My Father: A Priest’s Son Takes His Case Directly to the Pope

Jesus with the Children

As part of our ongoing effort to highlight important considerations in the ongoing work of child and youth protection in the church, we occasionally highlight articles about these needs.

From The Boston Globe (Part 2 of 2) – August 17, 2017

One bright morning three years ago, Vincent Doyle joined the thousands of Catholic faithful jamming St. Peter’s Square for a chance to see Pope Francis make his weekly public appearance and bestow his blessing on the crowd.

Unlike most of those standing in the searing Roman sun, Doyle was headed to a front-row seat in a reserved section very close to where the pope would emerge, and he was already silently rehearsing an urgent message in the pontiff’s native language.

“I am the son of a Catholic priest in Ireland,” he repeated in Spanish, praying he would not become tongue-tied or overcome with emotion when he met the Holy Father.

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Father My Father: Children of Catholic Priests Live With Secrets and Sorrow

Jesus with the Children

As part of our ongoing effort to highlight important considerations in the ongoing work of child and youth protection in the church, we occasionally highlight articles about these needs.

From The Boston Globe (Part 1 of 2) – August 16, 2017

He carried his doubts and disappointment across miles and decades, from childhood to adulthood, and finally at the age of 48 to the kitchen table of a modest house outside of Buffalo. There, he would ask an elderly aunt and uncle to help him answer the question that had troubled him all his life: Why had his father always seemed to dislike him so much?

With his parents already dead, Jim Graham pleaded with his Aunt Kathryn and Uncle Otto to tell him the truth about his family. Finally, Kathryn unfolded a newsletter published by a Catholic religious order and slid it across the table. She jabbed a finger at a picture of a sad, balding figure wearing a priest’s clerical collar.

“Only the principals know for sure,” she said, “but this may be your father.”

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CMSM Inaugurates a New Position for the Protection of Minors

 

The Conference of Major Superiors of Men is pleased to announce the hiring of the Rev. Gerard J. McGlone, S.J., Ph. D., to serve as Associate Director for the Protection of Minors. The appointment was announced today by the Rev. John Pavlik, OFM Cap., Executive Director. This newly created position responds to the Conference’s desire to designate a person singularly devoted to serve as a primary resource person of the Conference for its Member Institutes as they participate in and develop programs for the protection of minors. Fr. McGlone will assist institutes in addressing their common commitment to make the Church and the Member Institutes places of safety for children and to stand in unity with the efforts of the universal Church to create safe environments.

Fr. McGlone will formally begin his position in mid-August.

In August of 2016 the leadership of the CMSM accepted a series of recommendations made by a specially formulated National Advisory Council composed of professionals and experienced leaders after a two-year study of the efforts of its member institutes in and through their programs, policies and procedures to fully affirm and collaborate with the ecclesial hierarchy of the United States in applying the values and principles articulated in the Charter for the Protection of Children. One recommendation of the Advisory Council held that the Conference of Major Superiors designate one person to singularly serve the members in these matters, and especially to offer assistance to small institutes with limited resources so that compliance might be achievable by all institutes, regardless of size. The National Board of the CMSM determined that the person hired for this new position should be tasked to gradually implement the ten recommendations of the National Advisory Council announced last summer. Since the autumn of 2016, the Conference worked to define the tasks to be undertaken by the Associate Director, to find funding for the position, and to conduct a broad search for candidates for this position.

Fr. McGlone will leave his current position as Director of Counseling Services, Staff Psychologist, and a member of the Faculty at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Italy, to accept this role on behalf of men entrusted with leadership in religious institutes in the United States. Because Fr. McGlone has previously served the Church and religious life in the United States through a position at St. John Vianney Center in Downingtown, PA, and as a consultant on formation of new members, and as a retreat director, he is well known to both leadership and members of individual institutes.

The leadership of the Conference will formally introduce Fr. McGlone as director at the August 2017 National Assembly and will present a vision for this new position. Executive Director, Rev. John Pavlik, OFM Cap., stated: “I look forward to collaborating closely with someone I have grown to admire for the breadth and depth of the expertise and knowledge he brings to the field of promoting the safety of children within the ecclesial community. Jerry knows religious life very well, and will, I am certain, generously serve our members to advance the cause and the practices of both safety for children and a balanced and healthy lifestyle for members of religious institutes.”

CMSM President, Very Rev. Brian Terry, SA, Minister General of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, stated: “The Conference is deeply grateful to Fr. McGlone for joining us in our commitment to provide safe environments for all children. Fr. Jerry brings a wealth of experience which will assist our members and the Church.”

Download a PDF of this media release.

Download a PDF of Fr. McGlone’s biography.