Sexual Abuse by Clergy
A group of teenagers, when apprehended for home burglaries, were asked why they selected these particular homes. They replied, “Because we knew that Christians lived there and that they would forgive us and not prosecute.” What is wrong with this picture?
The Pope has his own preacher, Reverend Raniero Cantalamessa, who, in a recent sermon, underscored the “abomination” of the sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests and urged a day of fasting and penance for the Church. The Pope was listening but the Vatican had no comment after the service.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Child Abuse Prevention Month in the United States, coinciding with a renewed attempt for New York legislators to ratify the Child Victims' Act (A2872A/S63A). The proposed legislation, sponsored by Assemblywoman Margaret Markey (D-Queens) and Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan), is being reintroduced after previous failure to pass. It would eliminate the statute of limitations (SOL) for prosecuting perpetrators of sex crimes against children, and would create a one-year window for victims to bring civil suits against perpetrators in cases where the statute has already expired.
This week’s news that the Paterno statue has been removed from the Penn State campus, the NCAA heavily penalized Penn State with both a fine of $60 million and denied their wins of the football team as well as its future bowl game participation was welcome news.
In going after the nuns in the U.S., you have struck a rock. You are attacking the church’s representatives who are the face of the church where it matters most--- in the hospitals, the schools, the parishes...
Through the eyes of three families, the documentary All God’s Children (70 minutes) www.alllgodschildrenthefilm.com tells the personal story of the first boarding school for children of missionaries to be investigated for abuse at the hands of the parents’ Protestant missionary colleagues.
What does a pastor do when he discovers that a volunteer youth minister in his church is “sexting” a 15 year old girl in the youth group? As reported in the news, “The West Seattle church's youth pastor went to police immediately after learning of the allegations against Davis, resulting in the 26-year-old’s arrest. Davis was also dismissed from his volunteer position.”
I think it is safe to say that everyone was surprised that Pope Benedict XVI talked about the pedophile priest crisis everyday he was in the US on his recent trip. In fact, he began the conversation with reporters on his plane enroute.
Pope Benedict XVI has arrived in the U.S. for his first visit as Pope. And there is some good news here. Ironically, “good news” and the Church don’t often appear in the same sentence these days. So I am always on the lookout for this occurrence.
Bishop Eddie Long is a national Christian leader, preacher and pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, a megachurch in Lithonia, Georgia, outside Atlanta. He is now facing three civil actions from two young male members of his church alleging that he coerced and manipulated them into sexual activity with him. He denies the allegations. His church members are stunned, and many are coming to his defense. The allegations made by the two men fit the classic pattern of clergy misconduct involving sexual abuse.
Dear Bishop Long: As a fellow pastor, I am glad to see that you are studying scripture and praying as you confront the allegations of pastoral misconduct from four of your young followers. I see that you are comparing yourself to David as a young man in battle with Goliath. I appreciate your identification with David, a young man battling powerful odds. However, you might find it interesting to study the older David, the flawed and imperfect leader we read about in II Samuel.
So let’s assume for a minute that institutions like the church, when confronted with the disclosure of unethical behavior like sexual harassment or abuse, tend to act in their own best interests. On the surface, this is what I call the “institutional protection agenda.”
Why is professional misconduct wrong? Because someone gets hurt. When any of us in a ministerial or teaching role betrays trust, exploits or abuses, we cause harm to another person.