The Los Angeles Tidings urges us to "Know the Five Steps to Protect God's Children." That sounds as if the well-being of children were more to the fore than, say, minimizing Archdiocesan liability. So check out Step Three:
All adults should be coached on the importance of not being alone with a child in a secluded area, such as a closed room or in an area that cannot be readily viewed by others.
See a problem here?
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Posted by: Eleazar -
Jul. 17, 2006 7:54 AM ET USA
Spot on Coco! I’m still waiting (after more than a year) for my Virtus instructor to get back to me with the number of child sexual molestations perpetrated by laypersons in connection with their duties in the Catholic Church. The whole point of these programs is to drag the rest of us down into the gutter with the pedophiles and make us so suspicious of everyone that we don’t have the time or energy to check up on the real perpetrators.
Posted by: Coco -
Jul. 14, 2006 6:30 PM ET USA
Don't you get it? The priests ARE NOT the ones required to participate in this program--everyone else is. The priests are exempt, so there's no conflict with the confessional.
Posted by: Coco -
Jul. 14, 2006 6:24 PM ET USA
The danger is not Catholics seeing molesters in their fellow volunteers. We have Catholic bishops and priests who are CLEARLY gay--lisping, light-in-the-loafers, limp wristed, and if statistics bear out, often molesting our youth. If the gay contingent of the Catholic clergy can get you to buy into the idea that "it could be anyone" they are out of the limelight. This scandal did not happen because of the janitors, it happened because of gay priests. They are anesthetizing us to that.
Posted by: Moneo -
Jul. 13, 2006 5:10 PM ET USA
Good point Gregory. It's what a friend of mine refers to as "la mirada sucia", or "the filthy gaze". We have all to a large extent become so accustomed to hearing and seeing filth, that we begin to see it even where it isn't. Another example is when we suspect any unmarried, middle-aged man of being a homosexual, especially if he isn't at least boasting of fornication. Could be part of the "cover your butts" strategy too. Put everybody in the same boat with them and they can hide more easily.
Posted by: -
Jul. 13, 2006 4:04 PM ET USA
The so-called "reconciliation rooms" should be converted into traditional confessionals with fixed screens between penitent and priest. This is for the protection of the confessor as well as to allow the penitent his right to go to confession anonymously. In parishes in L.A. and elsewhere, this right, afforded by canon law, is completely disregarded. The "glass door" solution is inadequate. What happens when it's just the priest and the penitent left in the church and there is no left watching?
Posted by: Laity1 -
Jul. 13, 2006 4:00 PM ET USA
My liberal parish has solved the confessional issue by using the confessionals as storage closets for sacramentals. Has anyone else seen this in their parish? Thanks to God that I have access to a good confessor without having to "go into the closet". How's that for a topsy-turvy manifestation?
Posted by: Canismater -
Jul. 13, 2006 1:26 PM ET USA
Now that the other one is going strong, perhaps a theological “audit” is in order…or at least a “Revelation Reconciliation”, kind of like a the month end checking account resolution. OK…how does this policy stand up against Sacred Scripture? Let’s look at how all the synoptics reference children; do they emphasize separation? “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them…” (Matthew 19:14; Mark 10:14; Luke 18:16) Oh…how foolish of me…legal doesn’t follow Sacred Scripture.
Posted by: -
Jul. 13, 2006 11:29 AM ET USA
Got a funny feeling about Bob the janitor or the assistant CYO coach? And that deacon is a little bit odd... It's tragic: Everyone that interacts with youth today is first a suspect abuser...I worry that VIRTUS also encourages an atmosphere of anonymous false witness, especially with step 5...
Posted by: Moneo -
Jul. 13, 2006 7:53 AM ET USA
But there are so many! Where to begin, where to begin... 1) All adults, eh? So grandma shouldn't be alone in a room with the kiddies? Being alone with a child is not the problem, not for healthy adults who are not paedophiles, anyway. GET THE PAEDOPHILES OUT OF THE CLERGY AND THIS WON'T BE AN ISSUE. 2) The fear of getting busted preoccupies the archdiocese more than the actual evil. "Coached"!? Read: "Learn how to cover your butts boys." 3) No interest in morality, just in avoiding trouble.
Posted by: NonSumDignus -
Jul. 13, 2006 6:56 AM ET USA
NOW does the wisdom of the practice of having a physical barrier and screen between the penitent and confessor begin to make sense? There's nothing new under the sun, as much as we might be convinced that the situation of our day and time is unique in all of history.
Posted by: poor soul -
Jul. 12, 2006 11:59 PM ET USA
well - I can't speak about the use of confession in LA, but usually when a child goes to confession someone else would be nearby - be it his/her teacher, classmates, or mother/father. At least someone else will be outside the confessional. But this should not be a concern with the old confessionals with those divided compartments separating the confessor from the confessee.
Posted by: Pseudodionysius -
Jul. 12, 2006 7:32 PM ET USA
Well, since no one goes to confession anymore in LA, there's no chance of "adults" being alone with "yoots" (My Cousin Vinny) in the confessional. I find the word "coached" an extremely odd use of the past participle, however.
Posted by: -
Jul. 12, 2006 7:24 PM ET USA
Does that include the confessional??? But that probably doesn't matter since confession is not encouraged in LA, especially for kids. They might develop a bad habit of scrupulosity.