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The sexual abuse crisis is not something to simply “get beyond”

Director’s Reflection

Dear Companions on the Journey,

Recently, at least two very powerful articles have appeared in The Boston Globe and a segment on 60 Minutes, all outlining bishops’ malfeasance over the last forty years with regard to sexual abuse and harassment.  These have indeed been very discouraging, but, truth be told, not surprising.  The American Church’s record on these issues has been pathetic over that long period.

At the same time, at least from my perspective, since 2002 much has been done to make the Church safe for children (except for procedures with regard to Bishops’ accountability).

I have made a four-page handout available in the vestibule of the Chapel for those who would like to read what this Archdiocese has done with regard to the protection of children and the procedures for reporting sexual abuse in the Archdiocese, clerical or lay.

One Archbishop said that we need to “move beyond” the sexual abuse crisis so that we can get to the “really important” issues of our day; i.e., global warming and immigration.

I remember Henri Nouwen once said how irritated he became with all the distractions from his work.  Until he realized that distractions ARE his work.

Far from being a distraction, I submit that the sexual abuse crisis is our work in the Church now, even as we address other issues as well. But it is not simply something to “get beyond…”

A prayer for the duration…

God of endless love, hear our cries as we
Agonize over the harm done to our brothers and sisters.
Breathe wisdom into our prayer, soothe restless
Hearts with hope, steady shaken spirits with faith:
Show us the way to justice and wholeness.
Grant us courage and wisdom, humility and grace,
So that we may act with justice and find peace in you.

We grieve together, we are angry together, and, I pray, we will persevere together.

What do you think?
And let us pray for/with one another.
The Paulist Center