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Association for Clinical Pastoral Education long Over Due Forgiveness Project

The Rev. Paul D. Steinke, Supervisor Clinical Pastoral Education, Bellevue Hospital Center, NYC makes a strong case of an ACPE Forgiveness Project.

Steinke argues the ACPE has done a good job covering the "legal and ethical bases" and that there are "processes are in place to deal with offenders." However, Steinke states the forgiveness project he has in mind is not something the ACPE Board of Reps can or should plam off on lawyers.

Steinke comments "I propose to the ACPE family a long over due forgiveness project. In the last ten years we have had good and smart counsel in bringing our association up to snuff ethically and legally. Who would have ever thought that we would come to a time where some of our hospitals run a complete security check on potential CPE students. Were you ever arrested? is a common initial interview question. We have also learned how to operate as men and women in a professional setting. We have learned about the proper boundaries between students and supervisors. We sign documents about our ethical standards.

We have come so far from those days in the 60s and 70s when the Cultural Revolution found its way into CPE. Our house is in order. We have covered all the legal and ethical bases. The Ethics Commission has done its job. Processes are in place to deal with offenders.

The Forgiveness Project I have in mind is to develop a process that will allow us to reclaim some of the offenders. And the wonderful thing is that we have seated on our Board of Reps 20 forgiveness experts.

This isn’t a job for them to palm off on lawyers. This is a job clergy know more about then lawyers. Let the lawyers check out the finished product. Let the product come from the forgiveness experts on the Board of Reps. I am sure we cannot reclaim people convicted of felonies (even though Jesus did). I don’t see why we can’t reclaim supervisors who stepped over sexual, financial and administrative boundaries.

Why doesn’t the Board of Reps develop a process that will allow some of our fallen colleagues back into the fold? Develop criteria. Prepare a process. Get started on the ACPE Forgiveness Project. It won’t be easy to do.

Remember John Patton’s book Is Human Forgiveness Possible? (Forgive me John if I over-simplify your argument): Through several cases in which clients were unable to forgive a parent or sibling John reveals that they only came to the point of forgiving the parent or sibling when they became aware that they were no different than the person who was so unforgivable. The clients had to over-come their self-righteousness and recognize their human condition in order to forgive the unforgivable."

Click Here To Read Steinke's full Article

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