Huffpost Religion
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Kim Michele Richardson Headshot

A Proposed World Wide Registry for Catholic Clergy Predators

Posted: Updated:

Recently, the Boston Archdiocese released a list of accused clergy.

A good first step. A move in the right direction. But also mind-boggling is the number of Catholic clergy predators in one town.

Hopefully, one day soon, we'll see more lists from all around the United States, the world. Even better would be if the Church would create one world-wide database that lists all of the accused clergy sex offenders, both living and dead.

This world-wide registry, a clergy predator site, provided by the Catholic Church and similar to the United States Department of Justice National Sex Offender Registry, would be available to the general public, assist law enforcement, give a much-needed tool to parents and communities, and provide awareness and child safety to the general populace, as well as providing the relocation information of Catholic clergy predators into unsuspecting communities.

Healing requires revealing. With the world-wide Catholic Church sex abuse scandal seemingly endemic in the Church, one wonders what screening processes the Church has put in place to insure the safety of vulnerable children and adults.

By "screening process" I mean to include the weeding out of the bad apples before they have the opportunity to become clergy. This would require the Church to hire an outside agency to conduct the background checks, and conduct the tests and report whether the applicant is or is not suitable.

In today's world, many organizations conduct thorough background checks on their applicants, including using polygraphs and drug tests, a wise move since the organization will be making a large investment in every employee.

Pre-employment screening must include interviewing the references the applicant provides, and also interviewing former teachers, neighbors and employers. What we know is that the current policies of the Church are not working. Their policies seem to allow only confirmation of employment or school attendance dates, and that's why it's all the more important to conduct thorough background checks.

I plead to the Catholic Church to keep moving in the right direction by revealing the names of predator clergy, as the Boston Archdiocese has done.

I also plead to the Church to start a registry and disclose their current screening steps to insure that history never repeats itself, so that in the future no child will ever have to suffer at the hands of those who have been placed in this most sacred and trusted position.

Around the Web

Catholic sex abuse cases - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Boston Globe / Spotlight / Abuse in the Catholic Church

Landmark study: Catholic clergy sex abuse caused in part by ...

Report on Catholic priests' sex abuse of minors finds no single ...

Roman Catholic Church Sex Abuse Cases News - The New York ...

Catholic Priest Sex Abuse Probe Suspensions: Protest at ...

BishopAccountability.org - Documenting the Catholic Sexual Abuse ...

Cardinal launches accused clergy sex offender site - BostonHerald ...

Catholic Church : Pictures, Videos, Breaking News