Worried about Child Abuse


#1

There have recently been many reports in media around the world considering child abuse by catholic priests, this makes me not only question my faith but doubt organized religion as a whole..... please help!


#2

I used the scandal as a side reason to stay away from the Church for multiple number of years, many people still do.

The important thing, the only thing actually, to remember is that the actions of a small group of priests does not mean that the entire Church is corrupt.

Just as, a policemen here and one policemen over there in that community are found to be corrupt that does not mean that the entire police force in your community or in all communities are corrupt.

In addition, child sexual abuse is also unfortuneately prevalent in protestant denominations and it is most prevalent within families (where these men have immediate available access to their children, step children and children of the women the man is currently sleeping with.)


#3

take a moment to think it through, and it may help. first, in the eyes of the teachings of the Catholic Church, the abuse of children by priests (or anyone) is a terrible evil. second, as a Catholic you believe in the teachings of the Catholic Church. no problem here, right? the problem comes in because certain people who should be trustworthy within the ranks of the Church have proven themselves not trustworthy. but the teachings of the church have not changed.

so, is your faith solely in the trustworthiness of any given priest? that kind of faith will fail you for sure sooner or later because priests are still human. we should have faith in priests, but, more than that, our faith should be in devotion to Jesus Christ and his Church on Earth.


#4

Absolutely it is a scandal and a horror that any priest (or any religious figure) can abuse a child.

But are you against parenthood because the vast majority of those who abuse children are the child's own parents? I don't think so. You wouldn't say that a person abuses a child because that person IS a parent. . .

So why would you think a priest would abuse a child because he's a priest?

IOW: The abuse has nothing to do with 'who' a person is, but with the person him/herself.

A person who abuses would do so (perhaps with more difficulty at a given time or place) no matter what the person's 'role' is. A man who couldn't father his own children to abuse will search out other children. Perhaps some occupations (school teacher, religious) have historically had more 'access' to children and thus were 'utilized' by abusers, but even if every child in the world was home-schooled and every child at a religious event was supervised, abusers would find SOME way to get to a child to abuse.

So we need to search out the roots which CAUSE this abuse and not just think that putting in 'safeguards' will take care of the problem. (Of course, we need the safeguards TOO. . .we just can't think we ONLY need safeguards, or we will NEVER solve this problem.)


#5

Interestingly enough The Christian Science Monitor - A Protestant Publication has put out that the numbers of perpetrators are much higher in the Protestant Church. Also a US govt study in 2008 shows that priests only account for .03% of cases. It is a problem that while sad has been overblown by the media which is overly leftist and against the Church.


#6

FWIW, I've been in Catholic schools from preschool through graduate school. For all of my 41 years, I have been a practicing Catholic. There has never been a moment when I wasn't safe. Moreover, there has never been a moment when I did not feel that those priests and friars would not do everything possible to support me and my family. That organized religion has provided me with the framework to grow and flourish in this life (and hopefully into the next). There are a lot more stories like mine than any other;)


#7

[quote="joandarc2008, post:5, topic:221914"]
Interestingly enough The Christian Science Monitor - A Protestant Publication has put out that the numbers of perpetrators are much higher in the Protestant Church. Also a US govt study in 2008 shows that priests only account for .03% of cases. It is a problem that while sad has been overblown by the media which is overly leftist and against the Church.

[/quote]

Just to add a few more thoughts.. and these are by no means scientific data but just some overviews that might help.... In fact I hesitated to write at all... however with the media only presenting a one sided part of the issue.. I felt any information that could be put out to help clarify would be helpful.. so in that spirit here goes..........

There are many studies that show that the instance of child abuse by priests ( or religious) in in the Catholic Church is a smaller percentage than other perpetrators.

(see quote above for example) No one in the Church today denies that child abuse is a terrible sin. What might help is some historical perspective:

1) First the instances of child abuse so widely reported in todays media date back decades ago.. to a time when pyschologists treated abusers quite differently ( Rather like an abstinance program.. go to counseling and move to another job/location to get away from the weakness)... simplified but used for "uncle D", "teacher D", "pastor D" or "priest D"

2) For more than a decade firm guidelines have been in place (consult your parish bulletin or diocesan website or the Vatican website) which show the Church is totally committed to protecting children and to a zero tolerance policy for abusers. This policy has reduced even further the percentage of abusers in many dioceses to zero but in any event still lower than the norm in many other statitistical categories.

I would suggest talking to your parish priest for more detailed information. But even more don't throw away your faith because a few psycholgically ill men who were priests abused children. Rather pray and work to make the Church even stronger and safer.

By the way in many Diocese' the local Bishops have instituted days or hours of prayer in reparation for abuse and for the Holy Spirits help in overcoming false claims (of which their are many) Perhaps if your parish or Diocese hasn't begun a program such as this, perhaps you might help in a small way to bring one about???

Again I don't write this to take away from any who have been abused but rather to help to put it into perspective for those who might not have the current or historical background ...I hope this helps a wee bit??? ( By the way my background is a an educator in early childhood education having been a preschool director for close to 7 years)


#8

[quote="sillycath, post:1, topic:221914"]
There have recently been many reports in media around the world considering child abuse by catholic priests, this makes me not only question my faith but doubt organized religion as a whole..... please help!

[/quote]

I am hoping that the posts into this thread have proved to be helpful to you and settled the questioning of your Faith and your doubts about organized religion as a whole? The abuse scandals have been a dreadful shock and an appalling betrayal of the priesthood not to mention innocence and trust. It is a betrayal of all of us and has shaken us all, I am sure, to our core. We have had, probably most of us, to renew those reasons that we are Catholics, which as another poster has pointed out will always be shaky and unreliable if it is about those who are Catholics, right up to the highest. Our Faith is based on Christ and His Church which He left with us and established - and even Jesus had His Judas and betrayer and an apostle.

Matthew Ch15 "[18] And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

With these scandals, we have indeed seen that the gates of hell have attacked, but the promise of Jesus is that there will never be total success and that His Church will stand for all time and as against all attack and the gates of hell.

Barbkw said : the important thing, the only thing actually, to remember is that the actions of a small group of priests does not mean that the entire Church is corrupt.

Good point I thought and a very important one.

In the dreadful wake of all that has happened, The Church is striving to ensure that it can never ever happen again - and in every way possible. She is striving to address with justice and awareness all connected issues.

I hope posts in this thread have helped and that you are now feeling more secure in your Faith, sillycath?

TS


#9

Remember this --- for every one priest that did this awful sin --- there are 25 that did not ! The majority are faithful ! --- The devil want's to destroy the church and the priesthood --- also remember we are the Catholic church too --- us laypeople ! Time to stand shoulder to shoulder with our priests and standfast ---


#10

I was abused a couple of different times in different ways. One was not so obvious, but as a father today I realized it was inappropriate. The other situation was pretty serious. He is no longer wearing clerics and is now married.

I left for many years and eventually returned. But recent events have caused me to suffer doubts too, not from sexual abuse but other kinds of abuse that I perceive. I'd chock myself as a mental patient for life now. But I did ultimately come back after study Church history. If this is not true then nothing is true and it doesn't matter what you decide because "this is it". That's where I'm at today. it doesn't get better in less organized churches. Sexual abuse is everywhere. I saved a young lady many years ago from the pain inflicted upon her from sexual abuse by a man in her church. The pain still prevents her from trusting and feeling safe. Satan is out to devour all of us if he can. So we have to remember "Christ in the Eucharist" and His promise of returning to us one day, that is if we don't get to Him first after this life. Get involved and give unscrupulous people ulcers and anxiety attacks. That's what one friend told me to do in response to our recent encounter.


#11

[quote="sillycath, post:1, topic:221914"]
There have recently been many reports in media around the world considering child abuse by catholic priests, this makes me not only question my faith but doubt organized religion as a whole..... please help!

[/quote]

Lay people... such as ourselves (am I right in guessing that you're lay, too?)... aren't the only ones suffering through this.

In Henry Edward Cardinal Manning's (the same ex-Anglican Cardinal Manning who was the spiritual father of the recently beatified ex-Anglican John Henry Cardinal Newman) wrote in his 'The Eternal Priesthood' that the fifth and most dramatic of the Sorrows that the Priest can expect is the (5) Fall of his Brother Priest and closely followed by (5.1) the souls of those wrecked by that Fall, both directly, and indirectly--such as by the resulting scandal [as in your case, doubting your faith and your Church].

For every priest who molests a child or siphons off funds from the parish exchequer, there's 500 men wearing the Roman collar, who have given their entire lives, laying all ambitions and talents at the feet of our Church. All of these men stand with Christ on Calvary, taking part in His sacrifice, however small.

When a rogue molests a child, imagine how this effects their ministry.
Imagine what a temptation it is to become bitter, resentful, and doubtful about their whole purpose. When one priests molests a child, it casts a shadow on us all, even our clergy from the backwater curate to a Prince of the Church, like the Cardinal.

Not to get too flowery, ... when the media reports these stories, its almost always cast as a clerical or Church establishment problem... rather than a 'Catholic problem'. Its more easy for people to accept as an 'establishment' issue, because we're comfortable with attacking 'establishments' and blaming them for our problems--and making it a 'Catholic problem' would invite people to rally around the Church, and close ranks against people who don't understand us and hate us... .

In contrast to this 'clergy v. All' picture we're accustomed to being fed, the Cardinal's text demonstrates that the entire Church, including the upper echelons of the hierarchy understand that the gravity of the abuse, and begins to explain how severely this impacts their own purpose.

Just a thought.


#12

[quote="AcolyteLector, post:11, topic:221914"]
Lay people... such as ourselves (am I right in guessing that you're lay, too?)... aren't the only ones suffering through this.

In Henry Edward Cardinal Manning's (the same ex-Anglican Cardinal Manning who was the spiritual father of the recently beatified ex-Anglican John Henry Cardinal Newman) wrote in his 'The Eternal Priesthood' that the fifth and most dramatic of the Sorrows that the Priest can expect is the (5) Fall of his Brother Priest and closely followed by (5.1) the souls of those wrecked by that Fall, both directly, and indirectly--such as by the resulting scandal [as in your case, doubting your faith and your Church].

For every priest who molests a child or siphons off funds from the parish exchequer, there's 500 men wearing the Roman collar, who have given their entire lives, laying all ambitions and talents at the feet of our Church. All of these men stand with Christ on Calvary, taking part in His sacrifice, however small.

When a rogue molests a child, imagine how this effects their ministry.
Imagine what a temptation it is to become bitter, resentful, and doubtful about their whole purpose. When one priests molests a child, it casts a shadow on us all, even our clergy from the backwater curate to a Prince of the Church, like the Cardinal.

Not to get too flowery, ... when the media reports these stories, its almost always cast as a clerical or Church establishment problem... rather than a 'Catholic problem'. Its more easy for people to accept as an 'establishment' issue, because we're comfortable with attacking 'establishments' and blaming them for our problems--and making it a 'Catholic problem' would invite people to rally around the Church, and close ranks against people who don't understand us and hate us... .

In contrast to this 'clergy v. All' picture we're accustomed to being fed, the Cardinal's text demonstrates that the entire Church, including the upper echelons of the hierarchy understand that the gravity of the abuse, and begins to explain how severely this impacts their own purpose.

Just a thought.

[/quote]

That was very well said.


#13

[quote="joandarc2008, post:12, topic:221914"]
That was very well said.

[/quote]

Thanks! :thumbsup:


#14

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