By Charles Redfern
The Roman Catholic bishop of Spokane issued a thoughtful ten-point response to the so-called “John Jay Report,” formally entitled, The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010, and released in May by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. The Most Reverend Blase Cupich listed several needs: Rigorous seminary candidate screening; revisal of the relevant child-protection charter; annual professional clerical education; parishioner education; re-emphasis of proper interpersonal boundaries, recognition of the problem’s extent; monitoring; intent listening and quick response; perspective; and ridding the church of clericalism.
It’s all good, which isn’t surprising. Most clerics were sickened that some used their collars to prey on kids.
My request: Tell us precisely that. Tell us how you’ve lost sleep. Tell us how you’ve vomited. Tell us how you’ve pined for the days of public penitence, when supplicants wept and immersed themselves in ashes and begged for forgiveness. Tell us you now know that this is not primarily a sociological/psychological issue – although those disciplines have their place. This is the great betrayal. The Church sinned. Its cover-ups were tantamount to treason against God and those who love God. Tell us you now understand why Reformations come.
I know you feel that and more. Just tell us.
Jason King, who writes on Catholic moral theology, adds more thoughts on isolation’s role in the sexual abuse. Read him here.