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Mandate a clergy and sexual abuse prevention course

| Friday, February 22, 2019

“Taking up our cross and following him” (Luke 9: 23).

I’m writing to inquire about the possibility of Notre Dame and the Congregation of Holy Cross mandating a one-credit “clergy sexual abuse prevention course.” In 2020, I would like to suggest Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross College complete a campus curriculum study. It would be great to have information from the schools of psychology and psychiatry, the law school, theology and other campus departments as needed. It would be very important to have a major campus-wide forum for students and the general public wishing to offer respectful opinions. This course, if put in, would be required for new and existing priests, clergy, vocational ministers, any religious vocations and brothers within the Congregation of Holy Cross and anyone going for any ordination. This course could also be available as an elective for anyone wishing to learn about prevention in terms of sexual abuse.

I’m also very disappointed with the University’s decision allowing former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick and Cardinal Roger Mahoney to join Fr. Peter Rocca in officiating University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh’s funeral in 2015. These cardinals have both faced allegations in serious sexual abuse cases. Fr. Hesburgh and his family were the kindest I’ve ever met. The Hesburgh family wanted to bring people together. Fr. Hesburgh wanted his legacy preserved and not to attract the social-political negative side of the Roman Catholic Church that needs to change. Recently, Pope Francis acknowledged the church clergy abuse history occurred, and I feel that our Notre Dame, Holy Cross College and Saint Mary’s community needs to be a bit more proactive.

Without hesitation, I can say that my experiences as a student at Holy Cross College in 2006-2008, as an alum and while working as a part-time waiter for banquets for “Catering by Design” at the University have had a major influence on my life. It is this community I miss so much. Working at Notre Dame had advantages like attending football games, but some of the best events were private. This included the football kickoff breakfasts with celebrities, private receptions in campus buildings, serving meals to student-athletes, working University President Fr. John Jenkins’ President’s Gala with the Board of Trustees, doing the fundraiser and ribbon-cutting for Duncan Hall and meeting the late Fr. Theodore Hesburgh and his family at the 35th Anniversary Reception honoring the University’s “coeducation of women,” which included the release of the official book of letters of alumni, students, professors and friends.

Being unemployed, it’s a hardship looking for a way forward. Notre Dame needs to remember to be open minded since they teach mind and heart.

God Bless,

Eric W. Bascom IV

Holy Cross class of 2007

Feb. 7

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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