My sympathies are with the victims. And, while this certainly does not exonerate the Church or minimize the gravity of our own scandal, I hope this helps people to realize that this is a people problem, not just a “Catholic priest problem.”
The modern world is not known for grace or reason, I’m afraid.
Part of me wants to discuss what this means for accusations against the Catholic Church. Part of me wants to discuss how a revelation like this against the SBC was obviously going to happen. Part of me wants to predict how the media will spin this.
However, I think it is best to pray for the abusers and the victims, whether they were/are victimized directly, indirectly as loved ones, or indirectly spiritually when they hear this news.
So sad. Praying for the victims.
The issue here again is not just that it happened, but that there was no response to correct it. However, this is fundamentally different in that the SBC takes a congregational polity, wherein the SBC is a loose affiliation of congregational bodies, but is not an episcopal body that provides ecclesiastical oversight. In light of this scandal they should probably look at some means of employing a method to provide oversight in order to reduce the risk of abuse by volunteers and professional staff. This is very different than the Catholic Church scandal wherein the episcopal authority was complicit in the cover-up of suspected and known instances of abuse. Bottom line, we all need to do better and not look to this as an excuse or justification for cleaning up our own backyard in the Christian community.
There are good and bad people all around us.
We pray for the victims. We pray those who have hurt others. May God be merciful to those who are repentant.
I am very curious as to what Pope Francis will announce this month. I imagine he will be rolling out some sort of plan since he coopted the American bishops conference.
I’m curious too. I hope the issue doesn’t get punted again. The American bishops really got the short end of the straw last fall. Some bishops have went ahead anyway and started implementing their own reforms.
I would be very surprised if it did. If nothing else, I would imagine they will put out some sort of bare bones plan even if the details still need to be worked out.
It’s just really sad when it happens to any church, because it paints all religions in a very negative light.
The modern world.is mechanics. The system justifying itself. Ernesto Sabato’s “Before the silence” and Cardinal Robert E. Sarah’s “The Power of Silence: Against a Dictatorship of Noise” both come to mind.
May God comfort the victims. May Divine Justice be served so that the rotten root be thrown away from the Church before The Fair Judge arrives and brings eternal judgement unto all. Unto.all.of us.
I agree…the major issue is the organized cover up
I agree with all here that cover-up is the problem here (both for Catholics and the SBC). However, the perception that I overwhelmingly see is that clerical celibacy is the main issue. The “pedophile priest” has become an archetype in modern culture. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard “If only they would let priests get married,” I would have a lot of nickels. Well, if only they let all those Baptist ministers get married…
If you read the article you will see the was express cover up in SBC. The leaders of the conference as well as local leaders had been told many, many times of the abuse and they did nothing.
Yes, of course. But I have to agree somewhat with Father Z., who has pointed out that the demonic has a hand in this as well, and the battleground for Satan is specially with the churches. As for the media, I wonder if they will be investigating public schools next.
At the local level, yes. But if we’re talking about the denomination as a whole, I see no such thing. What the article says is that the executives of the SBC were informed of the problem back in 2008 but did nothing. They didn’t cover anything up, they just refused to intervene in local church affairs because they cannot intervene in local church affairs.
The Baptists are congregationalists. Baptist denominations do not ordain or have any authority over clergy or local church personnel. If a local minister, employee or volunteer of a SBC church abuses a child or adult member the only options are the police and/or the local church’s own processes.
The most the SBC as a denomination can do is to remove a local church from its membership. It can also recommend that local churches adopt certain polices and procedures to prevent and/or address these kinds of issues, but it cannot force any church to do what it does not want to do.
I think now more people within the SBC will demand churches be required to undergo mandatory training or else have their membership revoked. And you will probably see more efforts by SBC leadership to kick out churches that are seen as not protecting children.
Then leadership in all religions need to do better.
By that I mean there needs to be recognition the concept of forgiveness is misunderstood and misapplied or abused by some because the abuser is popular. Some misunderstand what “we’re all sinners” means. There are some congregations that would allow known abusers near children. Others have forced victims to forgive their abusers and refuse to report it to the police.
The second is background checks aren’t foolproof. Unfortunately, nothing is. But parents and others could benefit from learning more on spotting suspicious activities.
There are more but those two come to mind easily.
Saying and doing nothing is still covering it up, regardless of of a church’s polity. If they know about abuse, they’re legally required to report it, just like the Catholic Church and everyone else. Silence is complacency. Even if they don’t directly intervene in local church affairs, they can still report the crime.