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2) Lobbying for large Catholic institutions to begin teaching about domestic violence: Seminaries, for example, should include domestic violence as part of their curriculum.Catholic health care agencies ought to provide educational programming on the issue.Their pastoral letter, "When I Call for Help: A Pastoral Response to Domestic Violence Against Women," first written in 1992 and updated in 2002, should be used to educate clergy, school administrators, religious communities, and diocesan and parish leadership.
For more information or to let the Catholic Network on Family Peace know about a Catholic domestic violence initiative in your area, visit the group on Facebook or email [email protected] members of the working group at the NCCW meeting said that nationally, the response to domestic violence in parishes across the US is inconsistent.Some dioceses have excellent resources (see Father Charles Dahm's recent U. Catholic article about the domestic violence program in his Chicago parish), but other women who come to their parish priest after becoming the victim of violence are told, "This is your cross to bear" and "Marriage is forever." "Priests need to see the teaching in front of them," said Sharon O'Brien, referring to the bishops' pastoral letter, which states forthrightly, "We emphasize that no person is expected to stay in an abusive marriage." Many parishes offer excellent resources relating to domestic violence, but pastors and lay leaders in other areas of the country know nothing about them, meaning that often they are starting from scratch rather than benefitting from another parish's experience.The group's website-to-be will provide an overview of the issue, research, and Catholic responses on the diocesan and local levels. Results showed that many of those dioceses worked with agencies in the community to offer help and resources, including referrals to violence shelters and counseling.A 2008 survey on diocesan domestic violence resources, conducted by the US Bishops Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, drew responses from 35 of 196 U. More than half also offered clergy education and advocacy for victims and their children.