LETTERS: We need to learn more about what church is doing now to prevent abuse

The Boston Globe
September 16, 2018

The Globe continues to lead the way in reporting about the institutional and systemic abuses at all ranks of the Catholic Church (“Another plea about abuse, and another empty reply,” Page A1, Sept. 9). However, we need more reporting about what is happening on the ground, today, to prevent future transgressions. The illuminating 2011 report by investigators at John Jay College, “The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010,” documents factors, both individual and educational, that have contributed to sexual abuse by priests.

It’s important to know that there is widespread understanding of risk factors for sexual abuse and that would-be priests are being carefully screened before being admitted into seminary. We need to hear how seminarians and experienced priests alike are coming to terms with the still-emerging crimes and coverups. And we need to advocate for priests at all stages of their careers to be nurtured and supported to be emotionally healthy individuals.

While incidents of abuse have dramatically decreased since the mid-1980s, even one abusive priest is too many. We need to be reassured that, every day, the church is doing everything it can to prevent a new cycle of betrayal and trauma.

Katharine Canfield



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