The following chronology documents a number of resources related to the prevention of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. These were produced at different times, by the Holy See and in North America especially.
- Primitive Church (1st-2nd centuries): The clergy as we know it is not yet established. The Didache (“teaching”, in Greek) explicitly condemns sexual relations between men and boys, at a time where “corruption of young boys” and promiscuity are current in Greco-Roman culture.
- Council of Elvira (c. 305 A.D.): Prohibition of pederasty and first obligation of priestly continence. During the Middle Ages, many councils sought to sanction corrupted clergy (Lateran councils of 1179 and 1215, among others). In 1741, Pope Benedict XIV promulgates Sacramentum Poenitentiae, quoted in 1962 by Pope John XXIII in Crimen sollicitationis on sexual sollicitation by clerics – an instruction not made public at the time. The Canon Law of 1917 and 1983 both condemn sexual abuse by clergy.
- June 8-9, 1985: Report and recommendations The problem of sexual molestation by Roman Catholic clergy: Meeting the problem in a comprehensive and responsible manner, by Rev. Thomas P. Doyle, O.P.
- May 1989 – June 1990: Winter Commission Report (Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. John’s, Newfoundland), The Report of the Archdiocesan Commission of Enquiry into the Sexual Abuse of Children by Members of the Clergy.
- June 1992: Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse, CCCB, From Pain to Hope.
- 2002: Adoption of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People by the USCCB. Publication of the report of the National Review Board on The Nature and Scope of Sexual Abuse of Minors.
- 2015: The final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada shows the abuses (psychological, spiritual and sexual) committed by Christian Churches and Canadian religious communities in the residential school system implemented by the Canadian government.
- August 20, 2018: Letter to the People of God, Pope Francis.
- September 27, 2018: CCCB publishes Protecting Minors from Sexual Abuse: A Call to the Catholic Faithful in Canada for Healing, Reconciliation, and Transformation.
- February 19, 2019: Statement prior to the Meeting on the Protection of Minors in Rome, UISG/USG.
- February 21-24, 2019, Rome: Meeting on the Protection of Minors in the Church.
- February 27, 2019: Canadian Jesuits, Sexual Abuse in the Church: Paths of Healing and Transformation.
- May 7, 2019: Motu proprio “Vos estis lux mundi” released by the Vatican to implement new international norms of prevention and reporting.
This chronology is taken from the Autumn 2019 issue of the ad vitam webzine “Abuse in the Church: Between Crisis and Hope”.