The Diocese of Honolulu (“the Diocese”) was established in 1941 and encompasses the entire state of Hawaii. It consists of 66 parishes and 24 missions, 36 elementary and secondary schools, and one college, and it serves a population of 233,000 registered Catholics with 74 diocesan priests. The Most Reverend Francis X. DiLorenzo, installed as bishop in 1994, leads the Diocese. A compliance audit of the Diocese was conducted during the period of July 7-11, 2003.
The information presented below represents conditions as they were found to exist during the week of the audit. Information regarding necessary corrective actions taken by the Diocese subsequent to the audit will be found in the last paragraph.
To Promote Healing and Reconciliation
The Diocese has had a policy on dealing with sexual abuse of minors since 1990, last updated in 2001, and a Commendation was written for the forward-thinking posture shown in developing and adopting this policy. The Diocese does not have an outreach program designed to provide immediate pastoral care to victims/survivors and their families, and an Instruction was written requiring the Diocese to develop such an an outreach program, including counseling, assistance, and support groups. The Diocese does have a victim assistance coordinator, Fr. Gary Secor, vicar for priests, who has 26 years of experience in providing pastoral care. A diocesan review board, the standing committee for sexual misconduct, was established in 1990 and consists of three priests and three respected members of the community, including a psychologist and an attorney; the early establishment of this board was mentioned in the Commendation addressing the policy. The procedures for making a complaint of abuse are not readily available in printed form but have been the subject of numerous public announcements. A Recommendation was made to develop a readily available printed format that sets out the procedures for making a complaint. The Diocese has entered into no confidentiality agreements since June 2002.
To Guarantee Effective Response to Allegations of Abuse of a Minor
The Diocese has had contact with local civil authorities regarding sexual abuse allegations, even though none have been reported to the Diocese since June 2002. The Diocese has cooperated in all pre-2002 allegations, and the policy provides for immediate reporting of allegations to the appropriate authorities. The Diocese does have a procedure for advising victims/survivors of their right to report allegations of sexual abuse by a member of the clergy to civil authorities. The Diocese has not established a clear and well-publicized code of conduct for priests and deacons. An Instruction was written requiring the Diocese to develop and publicize clear standards of ministerial behavior and appropriate boundaries for clergy and other church personnel who have regular contact with children. The Diocese has a communications policy reflecting the bishop’s pledge to be open and transparent on issues regarding the sexual abuse of children.
To Ensure Accountability of Procedures
The Diocese is participating in the research study regarding the “nature and scope” of the problem of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy.
To Protect the Faithful in the Future
The Diocese has not developed a safe environment program for presentation to clergy and adults having regular contact with children, although it was reviewing several programs. An Instruction was issued requiring the Diocese to establish a program. As mentioned above, the Diocese did not have publicized standards of conduct for priests and deacons, diocesan employees, or volunteers, for which an Instruction was written. The diocesan policy does include prohibitions relating to sexual abuse and sexual harassment. The Diocese has a policy that requires background investigations on all members of the clergy and other adults who have regular contact with children; however, there was no system in place to ensure that such checks are being made. An Instruction was written requiring initiation of a procedure for the evaluation of backgrounds on all adults who have contact with children. The Diocese has not transferred any priests or deacons who have had credible allegations of sexual abuse lodged against them to any other diocese for ministerial assignment; one had been transferred for residency after June 2002, and the appropriate diocese was notified. The bishop and the major superiors of orders having a presence in the Diocese have coordinated their respective roles regarding issues of allegations of sexual abuse made against a cleric member of a religious institute. The Diocese has not had an opportunity to cooperate with other churches, religious bodies, and institutions of learning in conducting research in the area of sexual abuse of minors. The Diocese has established screening and evaluative techniques in the selection of candidates for ordination; however, there have been very few systematic, ongoing formation programs for the priests. A Recommendation was written suggesting the adoption of additional on-going formation programs.
Compliance with the Provisions of the Charter
At the conclusion of this audit, the Diocese of Honolulu was issued four Instructions, two Recommendations, and one Commendation.
INSTRUCTION 1—The Diocese will develop an outreach program for victims/survivors of sexual abuse that will include a provision for counseling, spiritual assistance, support groups, and other social services.
INSTRUCTION 2—The Diocese will develop and publicize clear standards of ministerial behavior and appropriate boundaries for clergy and other church personnel in a positions of trust who have regular contact with children.
INSTRUCTION 3—The Diocese will establish a safe environment program that specifically provides training for parents, educators, clergy, employees, and volunteers who regularly work with children.
INSTRUCTION 4—The Diocese will initiate a procedure for the evaluation of the background of all diocesan and parish personnel, including independent contractors and volunteers who have regular contact with children.
RECOMMENDATION 1—That the Diocese consider adopting additional ongoing formation programs to assist priests in their vocation.
RECOMMENDATION 2—That the Diocese develop a readily available printed format that sets out the procedures for making a complaint of sexual abuse.
COMMENDATION—For the Diocese’s forward-thinking efforts in developing and adopting a written policy on how to respond to a sexual abuse allegation and for the creation of a standing committee to assist the bishop in carrying out his responsibilities in the years before June 2002.
As of December 1, 2003, Instruction 1 and both Recommendations had been addressed. With regard to Instruction 2, the Diocese intends to present the Model Code of Pastoral Conduct developed by VIRTUS to those who regularly work with children and will publish the code
in the Catholic Herald in January 2004. With regard to Instruction 3, safe environment training is scheduled for all priests in January 2004 and for all other adults who have significant contact with children in February and April. With regard to Instruction 4, the Diocese is addressing legal issues relative to background checks and hopes to have them resolved and the checks initiated in the Fall of 2004. The Diocese of Honolulu is compliant with the provisions of the Charter as measured by the process described in Chapter 2 and is expected to be fully compliant with Article 6, 12, and 13 upon the completion of the actions described above.
The compliance audit measured activity that has occurred since the adoption of the Charter in June 2002 with the exception of certain mandated actions found in Articles 5 and 14. Actions taken by the diocese/eparchy prior to June 2002 to address allegations of sexual abuse of minors by priests and deacons are not included in this summary report.
Office of Child and Youth Protection
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
3211 4th Street, N.E., Washington, DC 20017-1194
(202) 541-5413 | FAX: (202) 541-5410