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Cardinal marks child protection anniversary with parish volunteers


Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley celebrates the Mass of Thanksgiving for all involved in child protection and safe environment efforts in the Archdiocese of Boston June 10 at Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Newton. The Mass marked the 10th anniversary of the USCCB Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and was an opportunity to thank all who have helped the Archdiocese in the implementation of the Charter as volunteers and as staff. Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy

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NEWTON -- Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley was joined by parish child protection volunteers and others committed to child safety at a Mass to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People June 10 at Our Lady Help of Christians Church.

"This Eucharist today is offered in a very special way for our diocese, for all of those who have been harmed by sexual abuse, and for all of the generous and dedicated volunteers whose countless hours of work have helped to make our churches safe places for children," the cardinal said in his homily.

Established at a meeting of bishops in Dallas in June 2002 as a national response to the clergy abuse scandal, the charter provides direction nationally from the USCCB used to protect children and young people on a local level. In the charter, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops provided procedures and guidelines for reconciliation, for healing, for accountability, for prevention of future acts of abuse, and for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors.

It directs actions for Catholic institutions to work in: create safe environments for children and young people, address healing and reconciliation of victims and survivors, make prompt and effective responses to allegations, cooperate with civil authorities, and contribute to the disciplining of offenders.

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