Twelve years in, sex abuse charter faces ongoing challenges

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July 13, 2015

Deacon Bernard Nojadera, director of the U.S. bishops' Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection, is pictured in 2012 at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington. (CNS photo/Bob Roller) See CHARTER-CHALLENGES July 13, 2015.

Deacon Bernard Nojadera, director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection, is pictured in 2012 at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Because the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” is a “living document” open to differing interpretations, those in charge of implementing the charter at the diocesan level face a variety of challenges, according to the head of the bishops’ national office.

“We’re dealing with a charter that is loose in the way it is written … in order to respect the bishop’s right to govern his own diocese,” said Deacon Bernie Nojadera, executive director of the Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington.

“We’re 12 years into the (sex abuse) crisis and we’ve done quite a bit to get to where we are,” he added, referring to the first audit after the 2002 adoption of the charter by the bishops in Dallas. “But there are always things to learn.”

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