International Organization of Marianist Lay Communities (IO-MLC) 

Region of North America, Asia, Australia, and Ireland

January -- 2020

 Creating a Sex Abuse Policy
for our MLCs

by Marceta Reilly
Regional Responsible for
North America, Asia, Australia, and Ireland
As a new decade opens, the Leadership Team for the International Organization of MLCs is initiating some significant projects to support the growth and development of our Lay Communities.
 
One is developing a sex abuse policy for our lay communities worldwide . At the request of the Vatican Dicastery Office this past October, the International Organization presented a DRAFT proposal entitled " Policy for the Protection of minors and vulnerable persons against sexual abuse in the Church."
 
When the Vatican first asked for our policy, I wondered what our appropriate role was. Most of our lay communities do not employ people, nor do they provide ongoing ministry to children. But when we talked about it, we DO offer family events and retreats, and often arrange for volunteers to provide childcare for the adult programs we sponsor. 
 
In a way, the policy becomes an educational tool for our communities to raise awareness of our members about best practices for interacting with children who are not our own, for supporting people who are in current or past abusive relationships, and for knowing how to handle a situation if a friend confides some abuse incident to us.   
 
We reviewed many sources to create our draft:

  • Vatican Guidelines for Child Protection Statements
  • Child Protection Policy for Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas (USA)
  • Child Protection Policy for Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Ohio (USA)
  • Policies for Protection of Children and Vulnerable Persons, The Marianists, Province of the US.
  • Articles from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
  • Articles from National Catholic Reporter online

We wanted the policy to be substantive and informative.  We also wanted it to build upon current resources available through our local churches and dioceses so that we did not have to create programs from scratch. 

 We felt it was important for the policy to help remind us that our role is to commit to the spiritual and emotional well-being of victims and their families by listening with patience and compassion to their experiences and concerns. 

At the same time, ministry should be offered to abusers so that every aspect is consistent with the need to provide a safe environment within our communities.    

We are in the process now of sharing this document with all the National Responsibles to get input from all countries about implementing this policy. It was written from a North American perspective, so we need to hear from other regions about what is possible in other areas of the world.
 
To read the Opening Statement in English Click Here.

To read the Opening Statement in French and our Asian languages , use the normal translations buttons on our opening page above.
 
The policy itself is long . Besides the Opening Statement it contains 3 main sections: 

·        Code of Conduct which describes behavioral expectations for appropriate and inappropriate ways of interacting with children who are not your own or vulnerable adults;

·        Prevention of Abuse which describes recruitment, referral, hiring, and training practices for IO-MLC programming as well as describing signs of abuse and neglect in children; and

·        Response to Abuse Violations which outlines the procedures for handling reports from people in our MLCs of actual or suspected abuse situations. 
 
Readers, you can help us in the final development of this policy by responding to these questions:  
 
  • How would you USE a policy like this with your MLC? 

  • What are the CHALLENGES of having a policy like this for your MLC? 

  • What might be the best way to INFORM and EDUCATE your MLC members about a policy like this? 

Send your comments and thoughts about these questions to me at clm.mlc.northamerica@marianistas.org
 
Our International Leadership Team looks forward to hearing from you on what we believe is a very important topic. Thanks so much for your input! 
Marceta  
                                                   For more information
please contact Marceta Reilly ,
clm.mlc.northamerica@marianistas. org     
A Special THANK YOU!
I want to express my sincere gratitude to our dedicated translators this month who were tasked with translating several long documents in a short amount of time. Their work is all voluntary and SO MUCH appreciated by me and I know by our readers!

So please join me in thanking these committed Marianists who contribute hours of time so that our Marianist laity in all parts of our world can connect with each other!

Korean -- Paul Kim
French -- Marc-Andre Dugas
Japanese -- Atsuyuki Yanagawa
Hindi -- Snehlata Gari

Let Us Pray...
Serving the Family
as Prophets like Mary
(Excerpts from the General Chapter of the Society of Mary, 2018)

--" Mary is a bearer of the ever-newness of God in history ...she brings the great gift of Jesus Christ into the world by her deeds rather than her words, with the quality of her presence, rather than with great remarkable actions."
--" Like Mary and with her, we want to 'wake up the world,' becoming a channel ourselves for this manifestation."
--" On the one hand, we need great strength in principles and attitudes, to be clear in our choices and our messages, even against the forces that oppose God's plan."
--" And on the other hand, we need a deep tenderness to welcome people, accompany the processes, and not consider as all bad what is not completely good."
--" That is why our way of being prophets is, above all, as a community of witnesses who must bring to the world a parable of the Kingdom."

Mother Mary,
Please help us to serve those who are most vulnerable with understanding and love.

Guide us in our efforts to develop sound policy that is both tender and wise--supporting survivors of abuse and standing firm against clericalism.

Teach us to be the strong communities of peace and joy that we are meant to be!
Amen.
Upcoming Marianist Feast Days

  • Jan. 22 Chaminade Day, Founder of the Society of Mary and the Marianist Family "Founders' Day"

  • Feb. 2 Presentation of the Lord

  • Feb. 11 Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

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