97. “The Synod reaffirms the firm commitment made to adopting rigorous preventative measures intended to avoid the recurrence [of these crimes], starting with the selection and formation of those to whom tasks of responsibility and education will be entrusted”.[FD 29] At the same time, the determination to apply the “actions and sanctions that are so necessary” must be reiterated.[Letter to the People of God (20 August 2018), 2: L’Osservatore Romano, 21-21 August 2018, 7] And all this with the grace of Christ. There can be no turning back.
These last two comments are important. We can never hope to be perfect in preventing abuse, or in managing predators. But the element of grace suggests that our efforts in litigation, prevention, insurance, classes for volunteers, selection of clergy and bishops will always depend on God’s grace and our active cooperation with it.
As for “no turning back,” the protection of vulnerable persons may never reach the level of the sacramental, but I suspect it will, in some decades hence, be as nearly universal and permanent as wheat bread for the Eucharist. It will have to be.
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