Beginning in August of 2002, the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) embarked upon a long-term program of education and accountability, which honors and fulfills the standards set forth by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in their landmark document, the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and applied in the Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons, which became particular law for the United States when the Norms received a recognitio from the Holy See in 2006.
After research by a staff of experts in the field to ensure consistent implementation of national standards for accountability, the National Board of the CMSM formally endorsed a program in February 2003. The National Board entered into a partnership with the Christian Brothers Risk Management Services and its recommended service provider, Praesidium Religious Services, in order to implement the specific goals set forth in the CMSM pledge for child protection, our August 2002 Assembly Statement; namely, to have in place:
- Mechanisms to respond promptly to any allegation of sexual abuse.
- Independent review boards, either singly or in union with others.
- Mechanisms of public accountability from outside the leadership of institutes.
- Educational programs for the protection of children and the prevention of abuse.
- More effective methods of intervention, care, treatment and follow-up supervision of members in need of this care.
- Programs of healing, reconciliation and wellness for all those affected by sexual abuse through dialogue with appropriate groups.
A program of large-scale organizational change was begun in August of 2003 at the National Assembly in Louisville, Kentucky. It is entitled, Instruments of Hope and Healing -- Safeguarding Children and Young People.
In August 2004, the educational component of this program was completed. There were 209 religious institutes, societies of apostolic life and monasteries who participated in the Instruments of Hope and Healing program. Shortly after the completion of the educational phase, these same communities began to seek accreditation from Præsidium, Inc. for their child protection efforts in accord with the first set of Standards for Accreditation published by Praesidium in 2004. The Standards were revised in 2008, 2012 and again most recently in 2016. CMSM member communities may order these materials by visiting the member section of the website (login required) or contacting Fr. Jerry McGlone, S.J. at the CMSM National Office via email at email@example.com or by phone at 301-588-4030 ext. 235.
At the 2013 Assembly of the Conference, CMSM members considered and approved a new statement on child protection, entitled Eleven Years of Work and Reflection by United States Male Religious on the Tragedy of Sexual Abuse within the Catholic Church. In 2016, the Standards for Accreditation were amended to include more recent information. In 2017, CMSM hired Fr. Jerry McGlone, S.J., Ph.D. as Associate Director for the Protection of Minors.