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It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. It’s every church leader’s worst nightmare. So if you are both a parent and a church leader, like I am, you are literally sick over this: the revelation that hundreds of priests in Pennsylvania sexually abused more than 1,000 children over the span of several decades.
More than one thousand. I have to spell that out and say it out loud, and I still can’t quite let my head and my heart wrap around the vastness of it. I would never sleep again.
Priests - Pedophiles - Pedophiles - Priests - Priests
I want to say this, right up front: not all priests are pedophiles. And not all pedophiles are priests. Many priests are faithful, loving influences and would cut off their own hand before they would think of harming a child. And, Lord knows, there are plenty of sexual predators out there roaming the world who have no ties to the church. The two designations do not go hand-in-hand.
But for this particular set of crimes, the Church is not merely a backdrop: the Catholic Church has played a vital role in perpetuating these crimes. Not just in creating the space for the abuse, but in setting up a whole culture that both creates and enables predators.
Evidence - Church - Authorities - Crimes - Victims
There is evidence that church authorities often worked to cover up these crimes, to silence victims, and to keep the offenders in their places of service (or to send them quietly off to another community). It’s unthinkable. But above all, this (most recent) scandal is an indictment of religion and its embrace of patriarchy: its faithfulness to male power and authority, over and above the rights of women and children; and the idolization of of that masculine image, over and above any true image of the divine. The subconscious message that follows is that men are somehow God; children are...
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