Bishop Richard G. Lennon
Bishop of Cleveland
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The Catholic Church places great importance on the training of young people. In all forms of social communication Catholic leaders give witness of their Christian life. Helping young people grow up knowing how to form right relationships across generations and with their peers contributes to their formation as whole persons. As whole persons our children may attain a sense of the right and responsible use of freedom in a way that promotes the common good of society.
The sexual abuse of young people, still searching for their mature place in a social world, is inexcusable. Such abuse against the most innocent among us confuses relationships and damages a child's developing sense of his eternal destiny and purpose. It is a crime against the young, but also against the future society which our children will create. I deeply regret that some members of our own church have cost children so much. Our Diocese is deeply committed to protecting our children and providing the safety and security that allows the harmonious development of their physical, moral and intellectual talents.
This document, the Policy for the Safety of Children in Matters of Sexual Abuse: Revised 2007, is a part of our constant striving to improve. The changes in this document were recommended by the Review Board for the Diocese of Cleveland, an independent group of individuals from many different walks of life and fields of expertise who have operated outside of the diocesan hierarchy, at my request. They have examined the efforts which were made in this Diocese during the past several years, as well as the policies and efforts of other dioceses in the United States. The Review Board has noted areas in which improvements could be made in the implementation of diocesan policies, and to the Policy document itself. I appreciate their dedication to this work and their candid observations and suggestions. I accept their recommendations for revisions to this Policy.
Having witnessed hurt, anger, confusion and disruption in the lives of victims of childhood abuse with whom I have met, I ask all members of our local Church to be vigilant on behalf of our young people. Under this Policy training programs will continue to be provided with alert adults to the signs of danger to children. Attendance and participation in the appropriate training programs is required of all employees and those volunteers who work in contact with children. the Policy further requires careful selection of individuals who will work with children, a thorough investigation of reports of sexual abuse of minors by church personnel, and the removal from church employment and ministry of anyone who has sexually abused a minor.
Please join me in praying that this revised Policy may be received by all the Faithful in the spirit in which it was developed, for the safety of all of our children and for the healing of the victims of abuse.
Sincerely yours in Christ
Bishop Richard Lennon
Bishop of Cleveland