Letter: Reporting abuse

| February 29, 2016 | 3 Comments

In the article entitled, “Vatican: Monsignors’ talk doesn’t change guidelines on abuse” in the Feb. 18 edition, Msgr. Anatrella clarified his remark that the obligation to report abuse falls first to victims and families, “not necessarily bishops.” His clarification says, “I said in this paragraph that the bishop or his representative will first encourage the minor-victim and his or her family to file a complaint with the police. If they do not, then it is up to the Church authority to make a report.”

Having the bishop or his representative discuss with the victim the pros and cons of filing a complaint is exactly why the Church is in such trouble. The obtuseness of Msgr. Anatrella is mind boggling. The bishop and Church should not delay in reporting abuse. It is up to the victim and the victim’s lawyer to determine what steps to take, independent of any discussion with any Church official. Having the bishop or his representative discuss the situation with the victim only provides an opportunity to delay and obfuscate and side-step the situation. This practice must end, and the focus must be on the victim and not the bishop, his representative or the Church.


Floyd Grabiel
Christ the King, Minneapolis

Editor’s note: It is the policy of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis that anyone working or volunteering in a parish or Catholic school who knows or has reason to believe that a minor (a child under the age of 18) is being abused or neglected or has been abused or neglected must report the abuse or neglect to proper civil authorities within 24 hours of the abuse or neglect becoming known to him or her. Additionally, many people working or volunteering in a parish or Catholic school, including clergy, are mandated reporters under state law and must report abuse or neglect of a child to proper civil authorities within 24 hours or face criminal charges.

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Category: From Readers

  • Mark Catrill

    Well written Floyd and you are absolutely correct in your response.
    As I have found, it was written by a Vatican official that doesn’t care about children and wants victims to see the bishop so they can do exactly that – to delay, hide it and side-step it. Why can they do this? Because they can. Everyone (not me) gives them money and they continue to do what they want.
    Here is my sure-fire method to ensure kids aren’t abused by priests and covered up by bishops, 100% effective.
    1. Never leave a kid alone with a priest (or bishop) ever
    2. Never have your kids be alter boys and girls because they would be alone with the priest (see rule 1)
    3. Never let them attend any camping trips, etc. with a priest, esp if it’s overnight.

    • Bernie Troje

      Put the child in a bubble. Child neglect and abuse does not stop with the measures you suggest.
      Don’t forget that 10’s of millions of children have been exposed to priests and nuns without any kind of abuse. I would never deny or defend what priests and the Church have done to innocent children, but I attended Catholic schools for 17 years, was an altar boy, attended 2 seminaries one in high school and one in college, and had many priests as friends, Never once was I aware of any sexual abuse nor heard of such abuse from anyone. I know now it existed, but currently it doesn’t continue to exist on the scale your comments suggest. Furthermore, to imply it still exists to that extent is to be unaware of the measures the Church is taking to safeguard children. I take comfort in this and would not fan the flames with the measures you suggest.

    • A child is much more likely to be sexually abused by a close relative than by a priest.