Council of the Baptized logo
in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis
September, 2017


Do you feel relief that the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the Archdiocese is behind us?  Is it behind us?  Some folks think yes.  Some folks vehemently think not.  Some folks are not aware of what is being done by the Archdiocese.  While they are vaguely concerned, they are also vaguely hopeful. 

In order to move forward, we need strong confidence that Archbishop Hebda and his Safe Environment staff are on top of it.   Tim O'Malley and Janell Rasmussen are the Director and Deputy Director of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment in the Archdiocese. 
Perhaps your parish has informed you fully, perhaps not.  Even if it has not, our 
responsibility as members of this local church is to pay attention to what is being done by leadership. 

Here is one way to pay attention:  The Ramsey County Court entered into a settlement agreement with the Archdiocese in a civil case of three unidentified children against the Archdiocese in December, 2015, amending the agreement in July, 2016.  The agreement required the Archdiocese to tighten up its safe environment program with many specific features involving parishes and to be in compliance by December 2016.  The Archdiocese reported compliance in December 2016 and continuing compliance in July 2017.   

If you have not already, we urge you to read the second and third reports posted on the Archdiocesan website, under Safe Environment/ Resources/downloads.

Compliance includes having a Safe Environment Coordinator in each parish to oversee the Essential 3 requirements: all personnel dealing with children have background checks, all receive VIRTUS training, and all sign a code of conduct.  See Second Report, 7.2  

Do you know who in your parish is the Safe Environment Coordinator?  Could you talk with that person about the oversight in your parish? Do they have enough time and support?  Does he/she think the system of protection is adequate?  Improvable?   Parishes self-report to the Archdiocese on compliance annually.  In the July 2017 Archdiocesan report to Ramsey County Court, all parishes are in compliance.

Another question:  You will see by the reports that the seminarians receive VIRTUS training.  Do you know what that training consists of?  Find out at   Do we know enough about the psycho/sexual development programs and preparation for a celibate life provided for in the seminary?

Another question:  The reports mention a restorative justice program for victims of abuse.  Do you think the Archdiocese should give more information to parishioners about this program?  Is it up and running?  How dependent is it on the initiative of victims?

Let us know what your parish Safe Environment Coordinator says to your inquiry and whether the reports to the Ramsey County Court give you confidence that the Archdiocese is doing its best to provide a safe environment for children and vulnerable adults.,  That confidence is vitally important to our moving forward.

Report on September Council of the Baptized Open Forum:  
Carolyn Puccio, CSJ, Larry Martin, and Peter DeMarais, who were delegates from our Archdiocese to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops' convocation of lay people in July, reported on their experience there. They spoke of the energy generated in the presence of 3500 delegates from across the nation, diverse as to age, gender, ethnicity.  All three expressed hope for revitalization in our own Archdiocese because of the commitment of Archbishop Hebda to follow through in planning with this group of 20 delegates.  The group has met once before the July convocation and once since. 

We have asked for a list of the names and contact information for the delegates if they are to be our means of input for the planning.    

Join us at the October Council of the Baptized Open Forum:

How do we help to evolve an integral Church in the vision inspired by Vatican II?             

Join us when Tom Smith-Myott will present reflections on what it means to be an "integral" Church.  Does our Catholic culture in this Archdiocese demonstrate an integral worldview?  Or are we engaged in culture wars?  What are some strategies to make cultural evolution happen?  

Tuesday, October 10,  7-8:30 PM at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 700 S. Snelling, St. Paul

Still in joyful hope,
CCCR Board and Council of the Baptized