Catholic News Service via Union of Catholic Asian News
November 27, 2020
By William Cone
Seminarians were surveyed anonymously about incidents of sexual misconduct at their schools of formation
Policy benchmarks developed from a study of sexual harassment and misconduct at seminaries and religious houses of formation in the United States are being promoted as a way to stem the abuses that came to light recently about former cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
The study was conducted in spring 2019 by the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, and the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University in Washington.
Seminarians were surveyed anonymously about incidents of sexual misconduct at their schools of formation. The study found that, even though sexual misconduct is uncommon, there is low awareness among students of protocols for reporting such infractions.
Following the study’s completion, a group of bishops, seminary rectors, faculty and lay consultants was formed to develop proactive policy guidelines. The policy benchmarks came from that McGrath Seminary Study Group.
“All of these people are very well respected in the field of seminary education and are regarded as reformers, I would say,” said John Cavadini, Notre Dame theology professor and director of the McGrath Institute for Church Life, who convened the study group earlier this year. Two of the group members are presidents of national associations of seminary rectors.
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