Today's local paper ( the Wyoming Tribune Eagle had an article in it about a meeting that happened in Cheyenne yesterday. While I am not Catholic, I wish I could have been in attendance to give a survivors point of view. I tried to use a link to the papers' websight, but unfortunately, the Cheyenne paper is not as high-tech as the Catholic Dioceses here is.
I was going to take some excerpts from the article ....but once I got started I got the whole article posted tonight.
DIOCESE GOES HIGH-TEC FOR BOUNDARIES WORKSHOP
By Michael Zamora
Cheyenne -- Serving as a moldel for the rest of the country, the Roman Catholic diocese of Cheyenne reached across the state Friday to educate its teachers, priests and staff members on avoiding possible abuse and identifying boundaries.
"The Diocese of Cheyenne today took a great step forward not only in complying the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People adopted by the United States bishops recently, but we did it in a ground-breaking way," Bishop David Ricken of the Diocese of Cheyenne said.
Linking 26 satellite locations from a downtown teleconferencoing center in Cheyenne, the diocese reached all 370 of its employees across the state for the Boundaries Workshop. The Rev. Roman Paur of Minnesota, a national expert of sexual trauma, led the conference.
Paur said the Diocese of Cheyenne, which is responsible for all Catholic schools and churches in Wyoming , is the first in the nation to offer this type of training on such a large scale.
"I really believed that the fact that the bishop invited all of the employees of the diocese is a model unprecedented and worthy of getting the word out." Paur said. "You (Ricken) are going to reap the benefits. This convocation is best for everyone."
At the conference. Paur discussed the current state of the church, talked about how church leaders coulld slide into compromising behvior and examined the impact abusive behavior has on people, including how people can be re-tranmatized when they seek help or healing.
"We looked into perceptions," Paur said. " We gave pointers, warning signs, on the kind of things leaders should be alert to that indicate they could be on a path that could be abusive."
Some of those red-flag behaviors incluce volunteering unnecessary personal information or using non-peers as confidants.
He also said church leaders should protect themselves when they offer counseling to their members.
"People who do counseling should seek supervision," Paur said. " there are things that happen in a counseling relationship that if people are not aware could get sucked in way over their heads. As we relate to people, we can be blinded by our affections or by our anger."
Ricken said it was important to get all diocese employees, not just priest, to be part of the discussion.
"Leadership is not just by one person, it's by all of us working together, Ricken said. "There's a whole complexity of relationships."
He said they chose to use the teleconferences as a matter of convenience and to reach the most people possible.
"People could ask him questions from all over the state," Ricken said. "We go the same job accomplished in a high-tec way."
Although the discussion may not always have been comfortable," ricken said it was necessary.
"It's a very deep subject," Ricken said. "It's hard to hear, in a way, but it's so important to human life and the life of the church. There's a kind of relief to walking into truth."
Paur said it is important the church realizes the responsibility it has to the community.
"The church is a public institution accountable to the pubilc," Paur said. "The foundation of faith needs to be positioned on relational respect. If not, everybody's in trouble."
From "Lion King" "The Circle of Life" with Lyrics
Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba [Here comes a lion, Father]
Sithi uhm ingonyama [Oh yes, it's a lion] (Repeat)
Siyo Nqoba [We're going to conquer]
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala [As lion and a leopard come to this open place]