For a while I have been wanting to write an article about male leadership and all the time there is this huge elephant in the room, the sexual abuse of children involving some Catholic priests, which only seems to get bigger as time passes.
I have heard Catholics say that it is very hard to be a Catholic at the moment in the light of all that has happened and the behaviour of the hierarchy in the way it has been dealt with or rather hidden these things. I don’t want to get into the why or the how for this can seem to be defending the indefensible and that would never do. Even though these crimes have been committed by a minority the effects are way beyond the numbers.
To be honest none of my friends, family or work colleagues have given me a hard time about this and we have all agreed about how terrible this is. Primarily to those who have been abused and secondarily to the church’s reputation. The damage these manipulative individuals cause is immense and it is of little compensation to those affected that these paedophiles are storing a judgement up for themselves. If I can take a liberty and paraphrase some scripture about harming children “it would be better for him to have a large millstone tied around his neck and be drowned in the sea.” Matthew 18:6.
Trying to hide it or cover it up will only make matters worse for;
“He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts.” 1 Corinthians 4:5
St Paul is clear about what should be done in such cases;
“Expel the wicked man from among you.” 1 Corinthians 5:13. Read all of chapter 5 for the complete context.
If the appropriate action is not taken God will shake the church to remove what is not of him. Hebrews 12:25-29. I believe we are seeing this.
Before this scandal within the Catholic church it seemed we were always hearing about wayward American evangelicals who had fallen bigtime. There was a church where this had happened and the faithful were reeling under the effects of the scandal. A visiting Christian gave them this prophetic word, ” I have a word for you. It is the miracle of Lazarus. (John 11:1-44) God took something that was dead and stinking and brought it back to life again. This is what God is going to do with your church”. These words both contained hope and a stinging slap for what had happened.
Now I don’t feel that the Catholic church is a stinking corpse, there are too many faithful people, lay and clergy, within it, but I am certain it is being shaken and what has been hidden is being revealed.
This has not been easy to write but I think it is important before going on with what I want to cover next. It may not be popular and it may get me in trouble but I think the matter has to be addressed if we want to see the damage, both to individuals and to the church, repaired.