Tuesday, April 15, 2008

You Can Have It Both Ways

Pope: 'Ashamed' of clergy abuse scandal
Pope Benedict XVI said Tuesday he was "deeply ashamed" of the clergy sexual abuse scandal that stained the Catholic church and will work to make sure pedophiles don't become priests.
I hope he's sincere about it, unlike apparently his predecessor (although I would imagine the blame lies more in the US church's leadership). But I certainly hope he doesn't imply that once the "vetting" process is over, and they are satisfied pedophiles have not slipped through the priestly screening process, that they will clap themselves on the back and congratulate themselves on a job well done.

Because even more diligence needs to be paid to ensure that existing men of the clergy do not become pedophiles - or have long-suppressed urges emerge - while being around children. Because that's what happened before. Local bishops were seemingly aware of the conduct of their priestly charges and turned a blind eye.

There doesn't need to be a witch hunt, and innocent, Godly men need to not be falsely accused. There's a line between genuine fatherly affection for children - the same that Jesus showed the little ones that came to him - and unnatural, hurtful contact that can affect a child for years and years. The entire process needs to be dealt with in love, fairness and openness. But it needs to be dealt with and not again swept under the rug.

It's not enough to say we've done all we can to keep the bad guys out. We have to make sure they're not already here...

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