Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

Kid, you’re on your own.

By Leila Marie Lawler ( articles ) | Mar 21, 2006

”And we still have a long way to go, but certainly the thousands and thousands of CORI checks and sex abuse training of our volunteers, and the training of the children has been a monumental task, carrying this out at the same time that our resources have been so limited.” Archbishop Sean O’Malley, Boston.

Talking About Touching continues to be taught in the Archdiocese of Boston, in contradiction to Catholic teaching about human sexuality and childhood development – and indeed common sense.

The issue in the abuse crisis – in the Church and also in society at large – isn’t the stupidity of children or their monstrous lack of awareness in wanting to avoid bad touches. Honestly, it’s hard to conjure up the mentality that, confronted with the astounding lack of truthfulness, willingness to take responsibility, and utter cluelessness to the real causes of the Crisis, sees children as objects of reform, as opposed to, say, seminaries, rectories, or indeed chanceries.

For those getting lost in the haze, I’m here to remind you that the Crisis is about men who abuse power over the weak; and other men, their bosses, who shuffle them around and cover up for them and even praise them for their otherwise stellar performance, marred only by a teeny-weeny thing like raping altar boys.

Regardless of the spin put on the program to placate uncomfortable parents, the fact remains that the vast majority of Catholic children who have the misfortune to be in contact with either Catholic schools or CCD programs are being subjected to what amounts to indoctrination for future sex abuse.

“The program has been adapted and modified for teaching in the religious education environment,” said Terrence Donilan, spokesman for the Boston Archdiocese. “It has been aligned with the archdiocese’s religious education curriculum guidelines and the Catechism to allow its principles to be taught in a Catholic catechetical framework.”

What he means is that now the program talks to kindergartners about “areas covered by a bathing suit” instead of using anatomically correct language. Reality check: the premises of this program, a Planned-Parenthood initiative, never could be acceptable or “aligned” to the context of five thousand years of Judeo-Christian child rearing, during which time workbooks were never employed to warn against sexual predators.

The archdiocese’s attempt to shoehorn TAT into some vague guidelines which in themselves have more reference to the District Attorney’s office than to the Catechism of the Catholic Church doesn’t hide the feebleness of the claim that it’s now acceptable. Notice Donilan doesn’t pretend that it started out as acceptable.

Sorry. The burden of proof of “alignment” with Church teaching is on anyone, even a bishop, or maybe especially a bishop, who wants parents to relinquish the formation of their children in this intimate area so crucial to their integrated development. Fr. David Mullen, the only priest in the Archdiocese of Boston I’m aware of who has challenged the Archbishop on this matter, directs his teaching to the parents, exclusively, in time-honored Catholic fashion.

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