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Urgently needed: honest, open dialogue on Church sex abuses

A priest argues that there has to be a collective, universal and unflinchingly honest response to the child abuse scandals that have been plaguing the Church.

  • Peter Day
  • International
  • July 24, 2012
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Since my ordination to the priesthood 12 years ago, the millstone of sexual abuse revelations within the Catholic Church has weighed heavily. Indeed, such is the extent of the crisis, that in some circles priest and paedophile have become interchangeable words. It is as if we have moved from an unhealthy 'A priest would never do that' to an equally unhealthy 'He's a priest, so he probably did do that'.

I do not presume to speak for anyone else. I am not a spokesman for the church. My intention is to help break open a new and broader conversation in which truth might hold sway against a collective silence and inertia.

The spectre of sexual abuse has become a defining moment for the Church; one that, if not addressed more universally, more openly, and more humbly, poses a serious threat to the Church's life and authority. We are, after all, dealing with something akin to crimes against humanity.

Just think: priests and others vested with authority in our Church and trusted as its representatives have raped children; caused emotional trauma that has led to suicides; and covered up or remained silent, and in so doing have protected paedophiles.

Yet amid the thousands of shattered lives, the institutional church is tending towards resuming normal programming while this overwhelming problem corrodes from within.

The Church is desperately in need of a long-term collective, coordinated and global response. Something of similar scope and dedication as the recent translation of the Roman Missal: an intensely focused institutional endeavour that demanded the attention, energy, and gifts of hundreds of church leaders throughout the world.

Full Story: A new conversation about Church sex abuse

Source: Eureka Street
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