Saturday, February 12, 2005

A few days ago I made a post about background checks and "Safe Environment" training for Confirmation sponsors (which I have since deleted). I had been told that from the perspective of the diocese, Confirmation sponsors had to undergo training just like anyone else who has frequent contact with minors due to Church related functions. The intent of my post was to ask how it would be practically possible for a parish to ensure that Confirmation sponsors (often arriving from out of parish, out of town, and even out of state) would be trained, when they usually simply arrive for the ceremony of Confirmation itself.

I learned today that I had been given incomplete information about the diocesan policy regarding Confirmation sponsors. So, in the interest of truth and clarity, I want to make this post so that readers also won't continue to have incorrect information. Apparently, the original question to the diocese regarding Confirmation sponsors came from a parish where the sponsors are asked and expected to be with the Confirmation candidate throughout the entire preparation process (of 2 years). In that case, the diocesan policy is that, yes, such frequent participation in Church programs with minors would require that sponsors also undergo "Safe Environment" training and background checks. I had only been told previously that all Confirmation sponsors had to undergo training and I didn't see how that was even practically possible. This diocese also agrees with that observation and understands that requiring training and background checks for sponsors who are only involved toward the end of the preparation program, at the ceremony itself, is not practically possible.

I regret that complete information was not passed on to me, but I am pleased that this matter has been clarified. As I mentioned before in the original post, I fully support the necessary measures being taken by the Church to ensure that the terrible sin and crime of sexual abuse of minors by clergy and Church personnel, as well as the scandal of negligent Church leadership, never happens again. I also agree that people, be they paid staff or volunteers, who have frequent contact with minors need to undergo background checks so we are more sure who is near our youth, and need to undergo training to help identity potential problems or spot the signs of abuse.

And, let me preempt the rumors and conspiracy theorists: I deleted the original post and have made this post completely of my own decision and free will. I was in no way commanded to delete it by anyone in the diocese, in fact, there was never a suggestion made that I needed to delete it. Recognizing now that I was not given complete information on this matter, I decided I needed to take these steps in the interest of justice and truth. Please don't waste anyone's time leaving conspiracy theories or remarks about censorship in the comment box.

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