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Profiles in Catholicism
 

An Interview with Father Charles W. Dahm, O.P.

 




 

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Gordon:       I wanted to open this interview with belated congratulations for the 50th anniversary of your ordination in 2014  and share with our readers   your reflections in your anniversary   in this great video .     
 

The challenges of priesthood have substantially changed over the past 50 years and there are less seminarians studying for the priesthood. What can parishes and parents do to encourage new vocations?
   
Father Chuck:
 
Vocations are born primarily in the home. So the faith and involvement of parents in the life of the church are the principal influences.  Most priests would agree with that being the case in their own vocations. Other than that, the respectful and joyful service of priests needs to inspire our youth.
   
Gordon In your video, you discussed many social justice initiatives.  What recommendations would you suggest to parishes who may be considering launching social justice initiatives?
   
Father Chuck:
 
This is a huge question. Establishing a social justice ministry is multi faceted.  There is a need to prioritize the issues and select the ones to focus onbased on the context of the parish.  But social justice should permeate all ministries, including religious education, youth ministry, and parish schools.
   
Gordon:  What are your primary responsibilities as Director of Domestic Violence Outreach for the Archdiocese of Chicago?
   
Father Chuck:




 
It is to promote awareness about domestic violence as a serious problem in families in every community, and forming a ministry to victims in each parish. The parish should raise awareness, and when victims come forward, know how to refer them to appropriate services.  Furthermore, parishes need to promoted prevention among youth and in marriage preparation. The Director reaches out to parishes, pretty much one by one, showing them how to do this and building a network of parishes for support.
 

We have to spread the word that the U.S. bishops declared in their pastoral letter of 2002, When I Call for Help: “No one is expected to stay in an abusive marriage.” Most Catholics don’t know that is the position of the Catholic Church and we have to get the word out, especially to those who are suffering abuse in their own homes.

   
Gordon: 
 

Violence has become endemic in our society.  What, in your opinion, are some of the factors that contribute to violence  in general, and what can we and our parishes do to reduce these challenges?

Father Chuck:

 
 

We need to talk about and describe what violence in families looks like and how to resist it. This has to be in sermons, school and religious education. We have to teach the young about what are healthy relationships and how to identify unhealthy ones.

We have to spread the word that the When I Call for Help “No one is expected to stay in an abusive marriage.” Most Catholics don’t know that is the position of the Catholic Church and we have  to get the word out, especially to those who are suffering abuse in their own homes.

 

Gordon:

Based on your experience, how should parents address domestic violence challenges with their children? 

   
Father Chuck:


 

Parents need to model healthy relationships both between father and mother and then parents and children and among siblings. Language, attitudes and behavior that are unhealthy of healthy have to identified and responded to accordingly.      

 

Gordon:














 

You have a powerful video on Domestic Violence Outreach which may the the perfect way to end this interview.


Domestic Violence Outreach