Apr 21, 2010

Sex Crimes and the Catholic Church

As the Catholic abuse scandal continues to unfold and dominate news headlines, I’ve been struck by the revelations about abusive priests being shuffled from one parish to another, signed oaths of secrecy, and little else done in terms of disciplinary action. It is frightening to see the number of priests implicated in these abuse cases and the number of victims too.

We recently learned that the current pope, during his time as the church’s enforcer on matters of faith and sin, ignored repeated warnings about a Wisconsin priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys. This serves as further evidence that the church has been deaf and dumb on the scandal for too long.

I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. These cases cannot be isolated to the U.S., Canada and Europe. As I think of this I am cognizant of the culture that exists in Africa and Zambia in particular. Matters of a sexual nature are very private, and often regarded as taboo.  This coupled with a weak legal system make it hard for victims of abuse to come forward with the stories and for the accused to stand trial for their crimes – but it’s not impossible!  We’ve already seen positive changes with families being more willing to step forward and report such crimes resulting in more paedophiles being prosecuted for their crimes. 

With that said, I hope that by seeing the courage of others we do the same. Let us start talking about this openly in our homes, our parishes, study groups, etc. Those that have suffered from sexual, emotional and physical abuse need support not only from their families but the larger community as well.

I applaud the victims of these crimes who have already stepped forward, and those that are championing for the lid to be lifted on this boiling pot of filth and shame! The church has betrayed a sacred trust in its inability to protect innocent children. Let us not be complicit in this shroud silence by looking the other way, and refusing to speak up against the crimes committed by “men of God”. 

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