In a letter sent to the Catholic bishops of the United States last week, Archbishop Harry J. Flynn of St. Paul and Minneapolis announced the beginning of the review process for the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
The bishops had adopted the charter – which includes a “one-strike-you’re-out” policy – in June 2002.
At the time of the charter's adoption, the bishops called for it to be reviewed in two years. Those two years are up and bishops have been asked to discuss the revision of the charter in their regions.
Bishops are also asked to hold discussions with their local priests council, the diocesan pastoral council, the diocesan review board, child protection personnel, and educators. The U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse, chaired by Archbishop Flynn, will also consult with the Conference of Major Superiors of Men.
In his letter to the bishops, Archbishop Flynn said the review will be concluded at the U.S. bishops’ June 2005 General Assembly.
The results of discussions called for in the letter are to be returned to the Ad Hoc Committee by Jan. 15.