The recent meeting of Pope Francis with Cardinals highlighted critical need for ending clergy abuse. Hopefully actions from the top will end the hurt. We can only pray that actions will happen and not just word play.

The Archdiocese of Detroit has been proactive in this issue. Priests have been removed when questions arise about possible abuse. That’s a great start. Sadly though the new program to protect children presumes the clergy problem is solved, and attacks the laity. How?

In an effort to make the Archdiocese bulletproof in its concern of children, several laity volunteer requirements are being enacted. In order to volunteer for any possible interaction with children or elderly any volunteer must do the following: 1) All must sign a code of conduct agreement; 2) Attend a “Protecting God’s Children” Workshop, and 3) Agree to a criminal background check including a complete credit and personal background check. While the first two make sense, I believe criminal and credit checks are “over the top” in personal character intervention. This may enable Archbishop Vigneron look good in promoting this plan, but how many unpaid volunteers will submit to this personal intervention in their life, and the hit on their credit history because of credit checks? Are we as faithful Catholics so untrustworthy when the problem comes from priests and bishops? They kicked the problem down the road, and now want to blame ordinary Catholics as a problem. To be very frank, my feeling is if you don’t trust me, how do I trust you? Again why should we be the scapegoats for errant clergy? We all know that the Church is non-responsive to us Catholics, but maybe we need to let Archbishop Vigneron know we Catholics don’t like this treatment and total distrust. I don’t think we should submit to “guilty until proven innocent” treatment. Does being a Catholic mean surrendering all our rights as Americans? How many will know what’s in your file? Would you like a file on you just like in the former Soviet Union? How do you fellow Catholics feel about the whole thing?


—David Naeyaert