A friend sends this thought along:
How do we put an end to sexual abuse in the Church? Well, let’s look at what the U.S. bishops recommend in their 1995 classic, “Walk in the Light: A Pastoral Response to Child Sexual Abuse”:
Some practical suggestions for developing simple action plans at the local level:
For parishes (many of these suggestions can be adapted for use by dioceses)
* Create an atmosphere of welcome, trust, and safety in your parish that encourages people to come forward: the abused, abusers, and all those affected by abuse, such as mothers who suspect that a friend or family member is abusing their child, as well as family members who may be in a position to offer support and security to the abused person.
*Establish a procedure to respond when someone approaches a staff member about sexual abuse. Have available a list of referral agencies and resources to give to people who request help. Become familiar with state reporting requirements as well as diocesan policies concerning sexual abuse.
*Develop a network of people with expertise in dealing with sexual abuse. Regularly publish a contact’s name and phone number in your Sunday bulletin.
…and so on. But most incisive of all is their final recommendation:
*Promote the use of language in parish programs and materials that reflects the equal dignity of women.
Obvious once you think about it.