Bishop Robert W. McElroy gathered all 2,500-plus employees of the San Diego Catholic Diocese for the first time since it was formed in 1936 to announce an expansion of the fight against the sexual abuse of children not just within the local Church but in the greater society, where most of it occurs.
- Called on every employee of the diocese to report child abuse they suspected was occurring, not just so-called mandated reporters obligated by law to do so, such as teachers and priests.
- Extended the effort to fight sexual child abuse beyond the Church, calling on all employees to report abuse wherever they suspected it was occurring in the greater society, where most of the crime occurs.
- Announced the formation of a task force to develop programming to raise awareness among the diocese’s families at schools and parishes of the epidemic of child abuse and what they could do to prevent it and to help its victims to heal.
- Announced two new policies regarding communication and social media to advance the protection of minors at the diocese. One prohibits all employees, including clergy, from communicating privately with minors they met through their work in the Church without copying their parents or guardians. The other prohibits all employees, also including clergy, to have direct interaction on any personal social media account with any individual minor they met through their work.
“We cannot erase the horror of the Church’s history, nor can we restore the shattered souls and hearts and lives of those we have been victimized,” the Bishop said. “But we can move forward as Pope Francis calls us to, utterly resolved to continually expel the sexual abuse of minors from he internal life of the Church, and equally resolved to help transform families and society to purge the epidemic of sexual abuse that rages in our midst.”
The full text of Bishop McElroy’s remarks to the employees of the diocese is found at safeinourdiocese.org.
Full story at sdcatholic.org.