US Catholic Faith in Real Life

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10 years after Dallas: How well has the church addressed sexual abuse?

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In 2002 a series of articles in the Boston Globe on the sexual abuse of minors by clergy in the Boston archdiocese—and the subsequent cover up of such cases by church leaders—brought to light a national epidemic within the Catholic Church. As past victims around the country began to come forward, the U.S. bishops met in June 2002 in Dallas and drafted the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, a historic document that created new standards for addressing past abuse cases and implemented safeguards to prevent the future abuse of children.

In the decade since the charter was adopted there have been many changes to the way the church handles accusations of sexual abuse by clergy, but how successful has it been? Please take our reader survey below and let us know what you think has worked, what hasn’t, and what more you’d like to see from the church in response to the abuse crisis.

Results of the survey, along with your feedback, will appear in our June 2012 issue to mark the 10th anniversary of the Dallas charter.