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Bishops Offer Lots Of “Measures” — Where’s The Truth?

When the USCCB meets next week in Baltimore, their website tells us they will “vote on a series of concrete measures to respond to the abuse crisis.” As usual, these “measures” comprise updated policies, protocols, programs, and procedures.

Call them “The Four P’s.” That’s what the bishops voted on in their historic 2002 meeting in Dallas after all, and we’ve seen how well that worked. Under the guiding hand of then-Cardinal McCarrick, they adopted a “charter” designed to protect children — and themselves.

In anticipation of their gathering next week, it is worth taking a look at some consequences of those “measures.” To bring that effort to bear on the local level, we will consider the policies of the diocese in which this writer resides, the Diocese of Arlington, in Virginia.

“A staff of seven people runs the Office for Child Protection and Victim Assistance,” the diocesan website tells us, “and they are assisted by 42 training facilitators and 96 parish/school/ministry liaisons. This office oversees extensive background checks for staff and volunteers, child protection training for all clergy/staff/volunteers, programs for school and religious education students, counseling for victims of sexual abuse, and implementing the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

“Separate from the Victim Assistance Program, more than 60,000 people have gone through training conducted by the Office of Child Protection, which has an annual budget of roughly $780,000.”

The Arlington Diocese clearly takes the USCCB’s mandate seriously. “60,000 people have gone through training conducted by the Office of Child Protection,” and that takes a lot of detail work. “An applicant to work or volunteer . . . must fill out several pages of paperwork — criminal background checks, employment history, and questions about interaction with children or other vulnerable people,” the diocesan newspaper reports.

“Employees and volunteers go through a multi-part application process that includes a search of the central sex offender registry, a national criminal background check, acknowledgment of the policy and the code of conduct, and a questionnaire. Attendance at a VIRTUS seminar is required for all employees and volunteers.”

And just who is responsible to see that all this is done? “Liaisons,” who “are chosen because they have high attention to detail and a willingness to do hard work….Liaisons assume this role only after thorough training. Initially, a daylong training class covers policy, best practices and how to implement a successful safe environment program….The liaison’s job is to ensure that all the paperwork is correct before it is sent to the chancery….Liaisons assume this role only after thorough training. Initially, a daylong training class covers policy, best practices and how to implement a successful safe environment program. . . . Liaisons receive instruction on utilizing the VIRTUS safe environment training website.”

OK, That’s Lots Of Work — What’s Missing?

Imagine, 60,000 people, each with hours of “training” and background checks and filling out forms and compliance updates and classes. The human cost of the hundreds of thousands of productive hours lost in all of this plodding exercise dwarfs the three-quarters of a million dollars budgeted for it.

But what lies buried beneath this perpetual blizzard of paperwork? Let’s start with the required “Virtus” training. The Virtus program was conceived by a group of homosexual-friendly “experts” during the McCarrick days. When I took the course several years ago (to volunteer with Hispanics in prison ministry), the course put all of the blame for abuse on the laity — no priests, no bishops — and homosexuality as a cause of the abuse-and-cover-up-crisis was never mentioned. In fact, homosexuality never came up at all.

Well, I tried to contact several of Virtus “experts” to ask about that, but none of them would take my call. So I decided to call Virtus’ national office in Oklahoma, where a very kind and caring woman assured me that homosexuals were not only welcome to take the program, they were encouraged learn how to become Virtus trainers as well!

How long, O Lord, how long have our bishops fled from the truth and covered their tracks with bureaucratic confetti to look like they’re doing something about abuse?

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