November 18, 2005

Asking the right questions about 'touching'

The Tidings

By George Weigel

Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker, Oregon, is almost certainly going to get himself in hot water with the U.S. Bishops Conference Office of Child and Youth Protection. That's entirely to his credit.

In the midst of the Long Lent of 2002, the conference passed a "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" (which was revised and reissued this last June). Article 12 of the charter requires dioceses to "maintain 'safe environment' be conducted cooperatively with parents, civil authorities, educators, and community organizations." The charter also specifies that these programs "be in accord with Catholic moral principles."

More than a few parents in more than a few dioceses have raised serious questions about whether many of these programs meet that standard. Bishop Vasa evidently agrees. In a recent pastoral letter, he listed the questions he thought needed to be answered before he was prepared to implement Article 12 of the Charter:

"Are such programs effective? Do such programs impose an unduly burdensome responsibility on very young children to protect themselves, rather than insisting that parents take such training and take on the primary responsibility for protecting their children? Where do these programs come from? Is it true that Planned Parenthood has a hand [in] or at least a huge influence on many of them? Is it true that other groups, actively promoting early sexual activity for children, promote these programs in association with their own perverse agendas?

Posted by kshaw at November 18, 2005 08:52 AM