Pastoral sexual abuse a conspiracy?


Heard a radio personality discussing the Pope’s letter to Irish Catholics. He was unhappy with the content of the letter, specifically the Pope’s failure to accept responsibility for abuse by Irish priests. He commented that given the sexual abuse scandal around the world in the Church, there had to be a specific conspiracy, going to the top, to keep covering these matters up; to keep transferring offender priests to new locations.

Given the authority lines in the Catholic church, a planned conspiracy is possible. But, what do we make of these same problems in Protestant churches? Especially in independent churches where there is no authority beyond the local body? Sadly, we see the same cover-up, the same attempts to move someone on without blowing the whistle.

Why? Is it a conspiracy? Yes, but not like the radio host was thinking.

The most obvious answer to the why question has to do with the fact that all, since Adam, are inclined to hide sin; to cover up and deny the truth. SO, it stands to reason that we see this as a universal phenomenon. People, especially those with power, want to look good and deny problems. Even more so when the truth might remove them from power.

But there are some other reasons as well. Worries about defaming Christ, causing “unnecessary” anxiety, “wasting” a gifted person’s ministry just because of one problem. These kinds of reasons are secondary. They make it easier to swallow the denial and deception. Like the parable of the talents, we find excuse for why we bury things. But they are not the primary reason.

I think the radio host wanted to be able to accuse the leadership of the Catholic church. Popes had to know and agree with these cover-ups that allowed abuse to continue. They may well have. But, a far more insidious conspiracy lies in each of our hearts; one that will destroy us if we turn a blind eye to it.

1 Comment

Filed under Abuse, Biblical Reflection, Christianity, Christianity: Leaders and Leadership, church and culture, deception, self-deception

One response to “Pastoral sexual abuse a conspiracy?

  1. Cover ups, denial of truth, conspiracies… There are many reasons people fall into self-deception. I believe it ultimately comes down to their relationship with God and sensitivity to His Spirit. Are they serving and pleasing man or God? When we fear God, we want to have a clear conscience so we can live with ourselves. May we search our hearts and seek God before we find reason to condone sin. It will certainly destroy us if we turn a blind eye to it.

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