Cloud Over Efforts to End Abuse

A recent grand jury report alleging past sexual abuse by members of the clergy and other church personnel in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia “puts a cloud over everything” the church is doing to prevent abuse, said Teresa Kettelkamp, executive director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection. The archdiocese placed 21 priests on administrative leave on March 7 in its ongoing response to the grand jury inquiry. What needs to be examined, said Kettelkamp, is the extent to which dioceses are following the “spirit and the letter” of the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” adopted by the U.S. bishops in 2002 at their Dallas meeting. As the Philadelphia cases of alleged abuse are re-examined, Kettelkamp said it should become clear if unreported cases of abuse were the result of human failure or a weakness in the process itself.

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