Ohio priests given rules on touching kids.

Apparently the pedophilia scandal didn’t make things clear enough for the priests in Ohio as the Church felt it necessary to put out a do and don’t list:

CINCINNATI (AP)—The Archdiocese of Cincinnati has issued a detailed list of inappropriate behaviors for priests, saying they should not kiss, tickle or wrestle children.

The newest version of the archdiocese’s Decree on Child Protection also prohibits bear hugs, lap-sitting and piggyback rides.

But it says priests may still shake children’s hands, pat them on the back and give high-fives.

Oddly enough there’s nothing about not touching their genitals or asking the kids to touch them. You’d think that’d be obvious, but you know someone’s going to say it wasn’t on the list so they didn’t know. The above strikes me as an attempt to avoid the appearance of inappropriateness without actually, you know, dealing with inappropriate behavior itself. Then again perhaps I’m just being nitpicky as I haven’t seen the full list.

7 thoughts on “Ohio priests given rules on touching kids.

  1. The list strikes me as rather helpless, and a typically nanny-statish (even if its not the state here) kind of attempt to regulate bad things by just forbidding everything. Like schools that forbid hugging because some people don’t like it. 

    I’m a bit surprised that this isn’t more obvious. Our society is pretty “hands off” already, and most people in western countries, unless they are in a loving relationship or family, don’t get enough physical contact to start with – its all shake hands at best, because we are afraid of being considered imposing or worse, acting in a harassing, sexually inappropriate way.

    Whatever happened to a) someone who doesn’t feel like being toched by another person communicating that (in another way than suing) and b) other people knowing when contact obviously makes another person ill at ease and stopping it?

    Yeez. One day we will need computers to teach us some humanity again!

  2. Spot on, ingolfson.  I remember reading somewhere that kids who are not touched when young are more likely to become sexual offenders when grown up.  My family was very much “hands off” when I was little, and it took me a long time to get used to being physical with others.  My wife and I have made sure that our kids were touched and held a lot, and they have grown up to be wonderful, affectionate, young adults.

    If someone can’t tell what is appropriate and what is inappropriate touching, then no list of rules is going to help.

  3. If someone can’t tell what is appropriate and what is inappropriate touching, then no list of rules is going to help.

    That is true, but in this case I think it’s more of a “cover our asses” kind of thing. Can’t really blame them.

    I remember reading somewhere that kids who are not touched when young are more likely to become sexual offenders when grown up.

    Well there’s touching and then there’s touching. Maybe the diocese is willing to sacrifice some of one to avoid all of the other.

  4. I suspect that this is largely lawyerly recommendations to avoid anything that could possibly be construed as abusive or suspect.  As a teacher, back in the day, I had similar lists of do’s and don’t’s handed me.

  5. Issued as a statement to the individuals of an organization it acts to shield the organizations against allegations that it didn’t provide sufficient training or information directing member’s behavior. If a priest goes an molests kids after given specific direction “do not molest kids, especially in any of these specific ways” and someone files a suit later on the church can go “we told him not to, and we can’t help it when someone acts outside our instructions.” I suspect that no one’s going to be really zealous about enforcing the rules until an Ohio priest gets caught with his hands down some kid’s pants, at which point they’ll have to up the anty and do zero-tolerance contact policies and perhaps wrap the priests in plastic of some sort to prevent touching.

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