Pope Francis held a summit this past week to discuss the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. My initial reaction was “it’s about time”, but we need more than just talk. We need to see action on behalf of the Church. Taking advantage of that sacred trust between our priests and children is one of the most egregious transgressions imaginable. When this news first broke years ago it was disturbing and sickening. The nature of these transgressions are that people are reluctant to come forward for a variety of reasons, and I do not expect the allegations to stop anytime soon. The victims need our prayers and support to get to the point where they feel ready to face their attackers and the Catholic Church. To this day we still learn of situations known to Church officials who have moved these suspected child abusers to other areas, and in some cases they still had access to children. Unacceptable. The alleged abusers and those that cover up these crimes need to be held responsible.
I believe in due process and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. I believe that the accuser and the accused deserve their day in court. I also believe that once these allegations surface, the Church should do everything they can to be transparent to the accusers, to the the police, and separate the accused from contact with children until they have their day in court and a decision is rendered. These actions protect ALL until the accused has his day in court. Pope Francis ended his summit by warning abusers of “the wrath of God”. Those that protect abusers will also suffer the same fate. For the Church to regain the trust of its members we need to see total and clear accountability in this space. We need to see this now and without hesitation when allegations are made.
Please pray this prayer taken from the Knights of Columbus Novena for Repentance, Renewal, and Rebuilding:
“Dear Lord – we ask that you strengthen our Holy Father and Bishops as they seek to restore trust in the Church, and renew those whose faith has been shaken by scandal.”
Your thoughts are welcome. I pray that all victims take the necessary steps to find the peace of Jesus in their lives. We are here to help those in need.