You are on page 1of 4

I

ill AncunrocEsp
Eop PonTLAND
ill w OnEcox

July12,2010

DearFriendsin Christ,

As cod's holy people,we knowthat we are calledto embracea life of virtueand to


turn awayfrom sin. Over the past decadewe havebeenshamedover the revelations
of sinfulbehavioron the part of clergy,religiousand even some laityin this
archdiocesewhich has beenso harmfulto manyof our children.At a recentmeeting
of the ExecutiveCommitteeof the ArchdiocesanPastoralCouncilit was suggested
thatI informyouonceagainaboutwhatwe, as a church,are doingin orderto assist
victimsand protectchildrennow and in the future.lt is a task that we have
undertakenwith all seriousness.Our accomplishments in this respect,even though
theycannot in any way compensate for the harm done in the past,still give us hopefor
a futurewhereall God'schildrenare lovedand cared for as Jesuswould.

I encourageyou to take time to reviewthis delineationof our presentpoliciesand


accomplishments. Pleasejoinme in prayingthatour penance, balancedby a firm
purposeof amendment, willtrulybringabouthealingandreconciliation amongall
thosewho have beenaggr:evedin this matter.God bless.

Sincerelyyours in the Lord,

/s/ + John G. Vlazny

Rev.JohnG. Vlazny
l\.4ost
Archbishopof Portlandin Oregon
ill ARCHDIOCESE OJficeof the Archbtshop
-
-
EorPonrraNo
ill INOREGON
Diocesesacrosslhe UnitedStatesare re-examining their policieson clergy
misconductas the Churchin Europefacesaccusationsof abusein those countries.
Mediacoverageofthese eventshas encouragedthe faithfulhere to queslionour own
policies.lt seemsappropriate,then,that I shouldtell you exactlywhat we are doingin
this archdloceseto assurethat no childin our carc will ever be abused.

Childhoodsexualabuseis a widespreadand seriousproblem,not only in the


Church,but in societyat large. Thereare no wordsthat can adequatelyexpressthe
damagethat abusecausesto a child'sspirit. Thereis no languagethat can fully
expressthe sorrowof the Churchat this betrayalof trust. As Catholicswe are
committedto protectinghumanlife and respectingthe dignityof everyhumanperson.
This is a constantteachingin SacredScriptureand tradition.Whenwe work togetherto
preventchildabuse,we are doingexactlywhat is expectedoi us as Church. lt is a
fundamentalway of beingaccounlable.

Here in westernOregonwe are not experiencingthe largenumberof complaints


that we did severalyears ago, but this is no excusefor loweringour guard. Ourintentis
that sexualabuseof minorswill neverhappenagainwithinthe Archdioceseof Portland.
The needto protectchildrenwho may be at risk and the safetyof the communitywill
alwaysbe paramountamongour concerns.

Throughtheseyears,we have developedand improvedproceduresand policies


that reflectour concern. Eventhoughyou have beencontlnuallyupdatedin lhe
CatholicSentinelandin otherannouncements. it seemsusefulto summarizeour
policieshere.

Assistanceis commissionedto provide


Our Officefor Child Protection^/ictim
ongoingemotional,psychological and spiritualservicesto those sexuallyabusedas
children.lt also seeksto expandand strengthenpreventativescreening,trainingand
educationso that the childrenand youthin our programswill find a safe environmentin
the church.

An updated Code of Conduct for Clergy, Employeesand yolunfeers has been


promulgatedtogether with Sfardards of Conduct for Persons working with Children. All
thesedocumentsare availableon the archdiocesan Web site !4lt{€Igfulpdxllq.

All clergyand employeesof the archdiocese,our highschools,parishesand


parishschoolsare requiredto have backgroundchecksat the time of placement.This
backgroundcheckis renewedwhen the personmovesto a new locationwithinthe
archdiocese.Employeebackgroundchecksbecamea requirementin 1995as partof
ordinaryhiringprocedures.Backgoundchecksfor volunteersworkingwith minors
were requiredbeginningin 2002. This backgroundcheckmust be renewedeverythree
years. SinceSeptember,2007,59,919backgroundcheckshave been donefor nearly
25,000individualswho are employeesor volunteers.

Any priestor religiouscomingfrom outsidethe archdioceseand engagedin any


publicministryhere is requiredto havea Testimonialof Suitabilityfrom his/herbishopor
majorsuperior. 1,727testimonialsfor priestshave beenobtainedto date. This
testimonialmust be renewedif the priestcomesintothe archdioceseagainafterone
year.

All clergyand employeesof the archdiocese,archdiocesanhighschools,


parishesand parishschoolsand volunteerswho work regularlywith childrenare
requiredto attendthe Calledto PrctectTeiningwithinthe first 60 days of workingwith
minors. 15,541peoplehave beentrainedin this program. Priorto this program,9,984
peoplewere trainedin lhe SafeEnvironmentPrcgram. An annualupdateoftrainingis
requiredfor all clergyand all employeesand volunteerswho work regularlywith minors.

Preventioneducationfor parentsis offeredeveryyear in each archdiocesan


Iocation.Approximately 40,000parentsand adultfamilymembershave had this
education.Personalsafety.education for childrenattendingarchdiocesanhigh schools,
parishschools,or parishreligiouseducationor youth ministryprogramsis requiredto
be offeredeveryyear at each location. Lastyear,about 18,000childrenwere trained.

Archdiocesanpolicyrequiresall personnelto reportsuspectedchildabusein


accordancewith Oregonlaw. We encouragedirectreportingof childabuseto civil
authorities.Any personwho has reasonablecauseto bblievethat childabuse is a
presentconcemis encouragedto reportthe suspectedabusedirectlyto civilauthorities.
Churchpersonnelwill cooperatefullywith civilauthoritiesin their investigationof a child
aousereoon.

lf the accusedis a priestor deacon,we alsofollowthe CanonLaw of the Church


regardingjnvestigativeprocedures.Accordingto CanonLaw,the archbishopbeginsa
preliminaryinvestigationof the allegationsagainstthe cleric.ln these circumstances
the
accusedclericor employeewouldnormallybe placedon administrativeleavepending
the outcomeof the investigation.

The accusedclericis encouragedto retainthe assistanceof civil and canonical


counsel.The preliminaryinvestigation concludeswhenthere is sufUcientevidencefor
to
the archbishoD decide whether it is orobableor not that a crime underCanonLaw
has beencommitted.

lf there is sufficientevidencethat sexualabuseof a minorhas occurred,the


archbishopis requiredto reporthis findingsto the Congregationfor the Doctrineof the
Faith(CDF). The Congregationthen determineshow to pro@edwith the matter,taking
intoconsideration the recommendation of the archbishop.

The archbishopmay placefurtherrestrictionsupona clericwho has been placed


on administrativeleave,such as his placeof residence.The clericmay also be urged
voluntarilyto complywith an appropriatemedicaland psychologicalevaluation.
Whenevena singleactof sexualabuseof a minorby a priestor deaconis
admitted
or established
according priestor deaconis permanently
to law,the oflending
removedfromministry.
TheChafterfor the Protectionof Childrenand YoungPeoplerequiresthat each
dioceseandarchdiocese establish a MinistryReviewBoardthatfunctionsas a
confidentialconsultative bodyto the bishop.OurownArchdiocesan ReviewBoardhas
beenmeetingregularly sinceOctober, 2002. lt consistsof 10 members.Thelay
peopleincludea retiredStateSupremeCourtjustice, an attorney,lwophysicians,
a
clinicalsocialworker,a doctorof clinical psychology,an abusesurvivor,andtwo lay
peoplewithextensive community experience anda priest.Thisboardadvisesthe
archbishop in hisassessment of allegationsof sexualabuseof minorsandin his
determination for ministry.lt alsoreviewsdiocesanpoliciesand
of suitability
procedures for dealingwiththesexualabuseof minors.Thereviewboardreviews
thesemattersbothretrospectively andprospectively andgivesadviceon all aspectsof
resoonses reouiredin connection withthesecases.

Likeall dioceses,
theArchdiocese
of Portland auditedJorits
is regularly
adherence of its programs
to the Chafterand Nomsas wellas forthe suitabllity dealing
withthesafetyof childrenandyoungpeople.We havebeenfoundcompliant withthe
Chafterand Normsin everyaudit.Ournexton-siteauditis scheduled for Octoberof
2010.
As yourarchbishop, I knowthatnothingcanundothesuffering thalvictimshave
enduredand I amtrulysorryfortheir pain. Throughout theseyears,
I haveexpressed
my shameandsorrowon manyoccasions, butI knowthatwordsarenotenough.The
effortsoutlinedin thisdocument arean expression of theaccountability
of the
archdiocese. I believethathealingandreconciliation cancomethroughour prayers
andsacrifice.Forthisreason,we havehad25 EmberDays(daysof prayerandfasting)
forthehealingandreconciliation of victims.Therehavebeen16archdiocesan Masses
or prayerservices for thesameintentions andI havemetwithanyvictimwhohas
wantedto meetwithme.

aboutpastor presentchildabuseby
A personwhowishesto contactthearchdiocese
churchDersonnel The
cancall503416-8810. assistance coordinator
willofferto meet
withthe personandofferoutreach
whichmayincludeprofessional
counseling,spiritual
assistanceor otherservices.