Catholic Church Still Paying for Sex Abuse Scandal
The costs of sin tend to hang around much longer than you want them to. Accordingly, based on a report released Tuesday by American bishops, the Catholic Church continues to pay for past clergy sex abuse allegations. According to the report, 594 credible claims of clergy sex abuse were received last year, and all but a few of the allegations dated back decades ago.
According to the report, last year alone, the Catholic Church paid more than $144 million in settlements and related costs. But the portion of the news piece that grabbed my attention the most is that according to the national report, auditors warn of “growing complacency” about child protection.
Say what! After all of the reproach, after the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been spent, and after all the innocent children who have been permanently scarred.
I believe all local churches who offer ministry services to children need to seriously heed the painful lessons the Catholic Church has learned and continues to learn. Church leaders need to be more critical of those they hire as youth leaders. They must be just as diligent in screening volunteer workers for the church nursery and for teaching Sunday school classes for children.
I know; this idea goes against the grain for most churches. The thinking is that the church is the house of God, and we should be loving and trusting and think no ill of our brother. In fact, some volunteer church workers interested in children’s ministry will balk at the idea of being subjected to increased scrutiny and even background checks when they are freely giving their time and labor.
But if we are serious about making the church a safe place for our children, we will regard a more aggressive screening process as a small price to pay to achieve our end goal.
If priests have crossed that sacred line, why should we be so naïve to think that others will not? And if Catholic Church officials protected priests who had violated a most sacred trust, why should we think that similar cover ups don’t exist among the Protestant body of believers as well? I say they do. The question is, will we learn from the Catholic Church or not? This is a call to gird up our loins and fight the spirit of complacency. The increased safety of our most vulnerable church family members depends upon it.
Copyright © 2012 by Frank King. All rights reserved.