Matt C. Abbott has the following letter from his excellency (and most awesome) Bishop Robert F. Vasa, of the Baker, Ore.
‘UPDATE: In the fall of 2006 the Catholic Medical Association issued a report titled To Protect and to Prevent: The Sexual Abuse of Children and its Prevention. This report is available for purchase on CMA’s Web site. One of the recommendations of the report was ‘that the energy and resources now directed to child and adolescent empowerment programs be refocused on the development of programs to assist parents in being the primary educators and protectors of their children.’ As you can imagine, this recommendation has not been accepted or acted upon by the producers of other child protection strategies.
‘HOPE: It does not appear that others will engage in the recommended work. Thus, I have been working with a small group of dedicated healthcare professionals and priests to fulfill this recommendation. We have studied the issues more thoroughly, and have been engaged in formulating the script and format for a six-hour video series focusing on strengthening and reinforcing good parenting as a primary way to assure the safety of children. The proposed title of our effort might be something like Strong Families: Safer Children. While it may be that our program will not be adopted by bishops as the only mechanism for fulfilling the requirements of Article 12 of the Charter for the Protection of Children, it is our hope that at least some bishops will adopt this program, as well as many priests in a variety of parishes, and that the families therein will be able to benefit from it.
‘FAVOR: It is our goal to make this program and its associated training material available at very reasonable rates to any who desire it. While we are non-profit, the truth is that even non-profits have expenses. It is estimated that it will cost more than $100,000 to film, edit and produce the series. Most of the participants are donating their time and expertise, but some folks make their living doing the logistical work and thus have a right to proper payment. The favor: Please consider donating … to this project. We have a few individuals who have pledged $5,000 and $10,000 to this work, but that covers less than half of the projected initial costs. Your grassroots contribution will have a very definite effect upon the progress and promotion of this important work. I cannot promise, but I would guess we may be able to send a complimentary copy of the DVDs and the workbook once the product is complete as a token of appreciation for your charitable contribution.
‘Until further non-profit status is established, donations may be sent in care of the Diocese of Baker, P.O. Box 5999, Bend, Oregon 97708. Make checks payable to Diocese of Baker — Safe Children Project. Each donation will be receipted as a charitable gift and all donations will be carefully restricted for application to the costs of creating and administering the Safe Children Project. Neither I nor the Diocese of Baker will personally benefit from these contributions.
‘I am very grateful for your concern and for you interest in this very important matter, which so dramatically touches the delicate hearts and souls of our children. If you are unable to contribute, I certainly understand, but ask instead for your devoted prayers.
‘Gratefully yours in Christ Jesus, + Robert F. Vasa, Bishop of Baker’