Keeler unveils project to curb domestic violence Catholic leader hoping to raise awareness and provide healing for victims

October 15, 1997|By John Rivera | John Rivera,SUN STAFF

Cardinal William H. Keeler unveiled yesterday a series of initiatives to be carried out in the parishes and schools of the Baltimore Archdiocese that seek to raise awareness about domestic violence and to aid and heal its victims.

The initiatives are based on the recommendations of a 22-member task force that deliberated for more than a year.

"It's disturbing to be reminded again of how pervasive domestic violence is in our society," Keeler said yesterday during a news briefing at Mercy Medical Center, the site of a daylong symposium on domestic violence.

"It cuts across all boundaries: geographical, income levels, race, religion, whatever," he said. "We see it now in almost every place. It's part of the moral breakdown in our society."

Keeler pledged to use the educational and ministerial resources of the Roman Catholic Church to address domestic violence. The initiatives include:

Promotion and advocacy: The Maryland Catholic Conference, the church's lobbying arm, will support legislation that promotes efforts to protect women and children who are victims of domestic violence.

Education: The church will provide its parishes with information to refer victims of domestic violence who are seeking help. Parishes and schools will receive educational materials on domestic violence and parish and school staffs will attend workshops.

Parish resources: Parishes are key to responding to emergency domestic violence situations. Priests and other parish staff will receive information on how to respond to victims of domestic violence.

Healing: Priests will be encouraged to preach about domestic violence and the archdiocese will hold healing services to assist victims.

In addition, the archdiocese's marriage preparation programs include a segment on domestic violence, and the youth ministry office offers training for youth leaders on violence in dating relationships.

Pub Date: 10/15/97

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