St. Anthony Messenger Interviews Judge Merz

The Catholic Telegraph

October 17, 2008

The National Review Board, established in 2002 in Dallas by the U.S. bishops who met to coordinate their efforts to end the sexual abuse crisis, continues to monitor progress. They are completing goals established in the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People to eliminate abuse by priests or others who work for the church.

An interview with Judge Michael R. Merz, chair of the National Review Board since June 2007 and a survivor of sex abuse by a church employee, is featured in the November issue of St. Anthony Messenger.

After October 20, the article will be posted at:

Judge Merz was a trial judge for seven years for the Dayton, Municipal Court and has been federal judge for 24 years. He also has served on the pastoral council for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for the past six years.

Completed under the guidance of Merz, the report on the charter, released in March 2008, shows that out of 190 dioceses/eparchies that participated in the survey, 178 are in full compliance with every article of the Charter.

Merz says that his work on the National Review Board is challenging because "its just tough work. Its not so much that weve had much interaction with the abusing priests, but weve seen some of the cover-up stuff that is really unbelievable."

The National Review Board is also looking to study the causes and context behind sexual abuse in the church. "The fact that we have such a high percentage of abuse of males is definitely something that needs explanation," Merz says. He and the other board members look to understand the role of sexual orientation or opportunity for abuse through the study.


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