Mandated reporters

Mandated reporters

A few days ago I mentioned that the Archdiocese of Boston is implementing a sex abuse program for pre-Kindergarten on up. This program will not allow any kid in parochial schools or religious education to opt out. Yet it contains values and teachings that are at odds with the Church’s teachings and values.

I also learned recently that there is a mandatory training program for adult church volunteers. Anyone involved in any ministry in the Church—whether you’re a religious ed teacher or lector or usher—must take this course. A little know fact is that the recent changes in Massachusetts law that expanded the list of mandated reporters (people required to report any sign of abuse to police) to include clergy uses a very loose definition of “clergy.” I have been told by those who have gone through the program that it includes anyone, volunteer or paid, lay or ordained, involved in any ministry in the Church. And I’m pretty sure that when you’re mandated, you’re mandated even when you’re off property.

In other words, if you’re a lector at your parish, and the guy who lives next door to you is arrested for molesting kids, and the cops show up to ask you why you didn’t tell anyone that kids were going in an out of there all the time, you could be held criminally negligent. And civilly liable. You could be sued and/or go to jail! All because you wanted to read the Word of God at Mass. Or bring the Eucharist to the sick. Or belong to the Altar Guild.

I can’t think of anything more likely to drive people away from service in the Church. Satan sure is a tricky bastard, isn’t he?

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli