Hollywood routinely mocks or mangles all things Catholic, but they really should look to how the Catholic Church in the United States changed itself to protect and defend the vulnerable from sexual abuse.
In the wake of the priest sex scandals of the early 2000s, the USCCB (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops) implemented a comprehensive system that requires every diocese and eparchy to:
- Train all clergy, volunteers, staff, educators and children to identify and report abuse;
- Run background checks on all adults with access to children;
- Report all allegations to law enforcement;
- Provide outreach and support for victims; and
- Remove offenders from ministry and further access to children.
An annual audit is performed by an external firm to ensure dioceses are effectively implementing the system.
Last year, I ran the numbers and found that the current incidence of proven sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in the United States is a piddling .1%. That’s POINT one percent. The LOWEST estimated national average for American men in general is TEN times that.
IOW, children are statistically much safer with their parish priest than they are with their teachers, coaches, or dads. And I’d venture a guess that they’re a lot safer with teachers, coaches, or dads than they are with Hollywood producers and directors!