not only love covers a multitude of sins

love covers a multitude of sins cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward

An annual review this last week gave Catholic bishops high marks on their sex abuse prevention policies. That’s good news.

However, there are still serious concerns about some pretty high-profile failings in many dioceses. You can read this report in more detail, with links, in the Religion News post Church Child Safety Officials Voice Concern Over Lapses By Bishops.

In essence, these are the problems:

  1. Some bishops still fail to report incidents of abuse.
  2. Some bishops still shield abusive priests.
  3. Only the pope in Rome can discipline a bishop.
  4. There’s no policy but only trust that bishops will be vigilant and accountable.
  5. There are no mechanisms in place to enforce the vague fraternal policies of the bishops.

Basically, it comes down to the buddy system where bishops can help one another cover up abuses in their dioceses with no one they are accountable to except the pope in Rome.

This not only happens in the Catholic church. This problem is rampant throughout the church. We’ve seen it in all kinds of denominations where abuses and highly inappropriate behavior has been covered up. And if it happens to get exposed those with influence may find ways to “restore” the perpetrator to continue his or her ministry.

I’m for restoration of the person. As for the restoration of the ministry, each case should be dealt with individually. My complaint is the imbalance of concern for the victims, the fraternal self-preservation of those in power, and their obvious lack of accountability.

With the dramatic rise in social media and the proliferation of and accessibility to news, it now seems that the public is the dominant critic of abuses. Public servants, servants of the people, are becoming more and more accountable to… the people! If someone retorts, “I serve the church!” then we can reply, “Who is the church?”

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  • Adam Julians

    It will take time to change this culture. And inevitably there will be abuses that continue until it is changed. It’s not going to be perfect until the perousia. in the meantime, there is a responsibility to comfort victms, enable healing and challenge the church to be what Jesus has commisioned it to do.

    I would repent of an abuse that I have committed. Having come from a position of being mistreaded, I did then focus my attention on being critical of the church. I know at least one person that was hurt by that given that for her, the church culture was somethig that she held dear, and being critical of the church for her, was personal.Although what I was doing was adressing evils in the church, it was for her, not appropriate for me to do as I did and showed a lack of grace on my part.

    I am in the process of learning how to go about being critical of the church and not hurting people in the church unnecessarilty at the same time.

  • Al Cruise

    You can’t be silent just because you might hurt someones ideal of something.Wrong is wrong The truth must be told. If anything I think David’s cartoons are not harsh enough. A case I know is a family being shamed and shunned because a son came out as gay, he became a target and was told of the shame he brought to the church. He committed suicide.

  • Adam: your comment sounds dangerously close to “Oh well. These kinds of things are going to happen. The best we can do is comfort the victims.”

  • Adam Julians

    Hmmmm – possibly. Maybe I should have stuck to my guns with what I was doing with being critical of the church in spite of what she was saying was hurtful for her. Always a difficult one I find as a guy when expereincing difficulty with a woman – culture can conspire to say one is being opressive when one is not. Perhaps I bought into that.

    You made me think about how I perceived the actions I describe Al. Perhaps what I was doing was perfectly fine.

  • Brigitte Mueller

    When will they get rid of this un-biblical “celibacy”? The Jews never had such a thing.

  • Al Cruise

    I think so Adam, from your post, you weren’t about revenge, you were seeking justice, seeking justice and truth will always bring forth healthy fruit and make a stronger Church, because the people are the Church and its people who hurt one another, so things that make us stronger in love, compassion and all the fruits of the spirit are a good thing. Justice is one of those.

  • Adam Julians

    Thanks Al – that was helpful. I guess I am always careful where a woman is concerned. A common theme that David has in his postings, and rightly so, is about the privelidge that white men have in societly, and important to remeber that others outside of this demogrphic have been men.

    What I am hearing from what you are saying is the importance for me personally to not have a flase kind of guilt that others can prey on. from being part of this demographic..This kind of thing has been an issue for me in the past and I’m in a process of healing from it. What I take away from this is that what I expereinced whas a result of this, rather than me having been abusive on the occasion i mentioned. False guilt can be a killer.

    I think you are right in what you are saying that what I had ebeen doing was seeking the justice and truth that brings forthe the healthy fruit and makes for a stronger Church that you talk of. With regard to the hurt, then that the offended pary expressed, I would take that to be a consequence of the offense of the gospel on this occasion and thier issue, a consequence of me having done something courageous and right.

  • dave

    Those in power (in the US anyways) often talk about the “entitled” people and entitlements. These names are usually meant to be condescending. But across the board those in power hold themselves to be much more entitled – entitled to the continuation of their power in spite of anything they might do. This starts very early, beginning when you start looking the other way to cover for your friends. I would maintain this is not what friendship is about. I’m not talking about helping friends in real need here – in this case a person did an acknowledged wrong, and you are expected to not turn them in, not write the ticket, not blow the whistle.

    It is the equivalent of the “too big to fail” issue with big companies. We have too many people that are “too important to do wrong.”

  • klhayes

    Was this an internal investigation?

  • hm. good question klhayes because that would make a difference, wouldn’t it!?

  • klhayes