Birmingham bishop and NCAC speak on policies and leadership roles in Catholic church

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Leaders in Alabama are speaking up after a grand jury from the Quaker state reported more than 1,000 children were sexually abused by leaders in the Catholic church.

Bishop Robert J. Baker, of the Diocese of Birmingham, wrote a letter on Monday to the Catholic members in his district. In the letter, he expressed his thoughts on the recent developments.

“Yet again in recent weeks the church is thrust deep into the throes of shocking and unanticipated betrayal by the revelations of the sinful, egregious actions of those in positions of power,” the bishop said.

Previously, the church leader explained how the process of accountability needed to be upheld.

“We as a diocese must continually evaluate how well we are doing to protect children entrusted to our care and must be constantly vigilant in
this responsibility,” he wrote on August 15.

The Dioces of Birmingham oversees 39 counties in northern and central Alabama.

While ownership was taken, the Executive Director of the National Children Advocacy Center explained what other areas churches, in general, needed work.

“Even now, today in this community, there are a lot of churches, there are a lot of youth-serving organizations who do not have quality policies and procedures,” Chris Newlin said.

Newlin gave an example of a church who did not have “quality policies and procedures.” A case he worked on previously revealed how one church manual included a page-and-a-half on peanut allergies…but only one sentence on child sexual abuse.

He also emphasized the importance of being a church leader.

“These are lambs, and you know they all need shepherds. And we want every adult to be a shepherd,” Newlin stated.

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