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News that virtually all U.S. dioceses -- including Boston -- are compliant with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, is certainly welcome news, but not quite cause for celebration.
One of the lessons the Church has learned from the sexual abuse crisis is that putting the safety and well-being of children first must be the priority, even if it conflicts with other interests. Implementation of programs to ensure that children, teachers, catechists, clergy and volunteers understand the expectations and can identify circumstances of abuse has become the rule in our parishes and schools.
Still, vigilance must continue. Sexual predators tend to embed themselves in organizations that lack understanding of their tactics and do not put safeguards in place to prevent abuse.
Unfortunately, the scourge of sexual abuse is rampant in our society. Even though we are encouraged by the fact that no recent instances of abuse have been reported in Boston, it will be by keeping up our guard that we will prevent other children from being harmed.
Presenting the report, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop William Skylstad said, “Vigilance to ensure the safety of children is now a way of life.”
In fact, we would add, there is no other way.