The Rector of Ohio's Pontifical College Josephinum Just Made a Common Sense Suggestion to the USCCB

In response to the recent arrest of a seminaran accused of traveling to Mexico to purchase female infants to use as sex slaves, the Rector of the Pontifical College Josephinum (where that seminarian was studying), has released a document detailing his seminary's response (see below). All three of the proposals strike me as apt, and -- so far as I know -- as rigorous as admissions procedures for other professions with similar professional obligations and duties. 

Of particular note, though, is a recommendation that I think would go a long way toward addressing breakdowns in comunication between and amongst religious institutions and dioceses. The Rector recommended to the USCCB's Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations (CCLV) the formation of a national database for such institutions, where information regarding history pertinent to admissions and formations could be stored and shared. 

This recommendation is notable for two reasons: (1) there's the simple fact that a Rector is recognizing the need to address of part of the systematic problem of religious sex abuse. In the past, priests and seminarians who have been deemed psychologically unfit for ministry have been able to pack up and travel down the road to an unsuspecting diocese, making it necessary for such individuals to be rejected over and over, and sometimes allowing them to slip through the cracks in dioceses (or in orders) with less stringent filtering practices. (2) Secondly, though, the fact that this recommendation has been explicitly offered in response to this situation tells me something about what the Rector thinks might have stopped Wright (the seminarian). In interviews, his mother was quoted saying that he'd been rejected from dozens "even hundreds" of dioceses and orders in his quest to become a priest. While she said that these rejections were all due to health related concerns (Wright is legally blind and many such institutions would require him to be able to see well enough to drive), this still raised red-flags when I heard it. Add to this the fact that Franciscan U (where he was briefly enrolled) had information available to suggest that he ought to be admitted, but never communicated this information to the Diocese of Steubenville, and I think this recommendation suggests that those closest to the case see a failure to communicate as at least partly to blame. 

In any event, the CCLV ought to have such a database. I'm going to be emailing, Facebooking, and tweeting my support at the USCCB. I'd recommend others do the same. 

 

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