WASHINGTON (October 8, 2004) — In a letter sent to the Catholic Bishops of the United States, St. Paul and Minneapolis Archbishop Harry J. Flynn announced the beginning of the review process for the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People which the bishops adopted in June, 2002.
Archbishop Flynn chairs the Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
At the time of the Charter's adoption, the bishops called for it to be reviewed in two years to ensure its effectiveness.
The letter asks the bishops to discuss the revision of the Charter at meetings in their regions. In addition, the Ad Hoc Committee is requesting the bishops to hold discussions in dioceses that include the priests' council, the diocesan pastoral council, the diocesan review board, child protection personnel, and educators. The Ad Hoc Committee will also be consulting with the Conference of Major Superiors of Men. The Charter states that the revision is to take place with the advice of the National Review Board. In a letter to its members notifying them of the review process, Archbishop Flynn invited the Board "to participate fully and frankly in it."
In his letter to the bishops, Archbishop Flynn said that the USCCB's Administrative Committee has set the June 2005 USCCB General Assembly to conclude the review. The results of the discussions called for in the letter are to be returned to the Ad Hoc Committee by January 15.