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Ohio Lists New Rules for Priests

Crackdown on Tickling: Will Rules For Priests Stop Abuse?

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati has released the most comprehensive list of rules to date addressing behavior between priests and children. Among other changes is the requirement of those who have contact with kids to get background checks. Victim advocates support the new rules but realize they're not a panacea. Specific rules also address conduct and communication through touch.

On the list of appropriate touches: side hugs, pats on the head, holding hands during prayers. Inappropriate moves include bear hugs, kissing, lap-sitting, and tickling.

The sexual abuse scandals have haunted the Catholic Church. Pope Benedict XVI has been including apology outreach as part of nearly every official trip, from Boston to Australia.

The new rules are similar to those teachers already have to abide by, with rising teacher/student scandals causing states to crackdown as well. Should religious figures be considered in the same realm as secular adult/child relationships? Will outlining what's appropriate stop abuse, or is it just a bunch of words?


Join The Conversation
TheEnchantedOne TheEnchantedOne 9 years
You know what torgleson, that's a good point. Why? Does the clergy have immunity over these 'basic' rules before? They're adults like the rest and should observe proper conduct where children are involved.
pinky23 pinky23 9 years
i agree with torgleson: these rules seem like a step in the right direction, but i cannot understand why they weren't always in place.
True-Song True-Song 9 years
Aren't these normal rules for any organization where adults interact with children?
valancyjane valancyjane 9 years
This sounds like a CYA move. (Not to be confused with a CYO move, ha ha ... oh, no other Catholic-school alums here? Just me? OK.) Your workplace probably has a similar policy, and it gets followed or ignored depending on the employees and how they relate to one another. If the rules are followed, great; but if they're not and they get sued, they can say "We had this policy, if the employee didn't follow it, you can't blame us." For what it's worth, I've known a dozen or so priests in my 31 years and none of them have ever tickled me, kissed me or sat on my lap. There might have been hugs, but because they were in the proper context it wouldn't have bothered me, or my parents. So on the surface I don't know if this policy is all that limiting. Also, it looks like this policy applies to anyone who works with children, not just priests. My diocese has something similar, though probably not this detailed.
annebreal annebreal 9 years
Personally I'm amazed background checks weren't done before this! Schools, day care centers, neighborhood centers, charities...most anyplace you want to work at (or many that you volunteer at) that serve children mandate background checks! Even without the molestation scandals they should have instated this ages ago. I'm a little on the fence about the "appropriate touches" thing, but again this definitely isn't the first job that deals with children (and not just teachers, either) that has rules like this. And I agree 100% with hypnoticmix - it would be great if we could prevent these crimes, as with many other crimes, but as with a lot of things with our country it's going to be more punishment than prevention. And it's past time that the Catholic church - and churches of all faiths, for that matter - start taking steps in the right direction. But they're not done yet.
stephley stephley 9 years
Excellent point Hypno - too bad the 'why' takes too much time and effort for most people to consider.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Like I said it's a shame that the measure is what it is. However, because we don't really know exactly what factors go into an adult being sexually preditory towards a child and more importantly to my point our system of dealing with such matters is to focus on the reaction/encarceration and not include a focus on possible cause factors & prevention it is IMO better to attempt to be safe than sorry. Now if things were different and we focused on the factors of the why and how can we understand it so we can prevent it rather than (only) tossing people in and out of prison not really knowing why and just labeling them as sick bastards who need to die, we might be able to finally get somewhere besides a dead end and laws that smother what their trying to protect.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 9 years
I hate when work gets in the way of my CitizenSugar reading :)
stephley stephley 9 years
Oy There are OTHER ways to...RATHER THAN by scooping them... I hate when people call the office when I'm commenting!
stephley stephley 9 years
We know that self-policing hasn't worked, so I see the rules as appropriate and necessary. There are ways to let people know you care by scooping them up in your arms.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Can I sit on your lap UnDave? I promise it'll be platonic.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
I disagree hypno. In the grand view, a very small percentage of priests actually abuse their parishoners. To handicap the vast majority because of the lack of discipline of a few is silly. It's like mandating that governors be put on automobile keeping them at or below the speed limit, because a few of us (me) like to go fast. There needs to be a better vetting of those entering the priesthood, or any clergy for that matter, but don't limit the type of contact once someone is there.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
The rules are good, but the sad thing is appropriate touch (touch without any sexual interpretation) is actually very beneficial to children. Taking away a lot of what would otherwise be healthy contact to eliminate the possibility of negative is a hard trade but I agree that under the circumstances it is necessary.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
I think it is a good thing, but I think the biggest help is getting parents to talk to their kids, and letting the children know when they should tell their parents about things that make them feel funny. Maybe the "rules" will lead to more discussions between parents and kids.
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 9 years
just as laws exist and get broken so will these rules.
yesteryear yesteryear 9 years
i cant believe these rules didn't exist BEFORE this.
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