church abuse by white men

Pope Francis writes this week a letter to the People of God in response to the horrific abuse unsealed by the Pennsylvania Attorney General.

It is essential that we, as a Church, be able to acknowledge and condemn, with sorrow and shame, the atrocities perpetrated by consecrated persons, clerics, and all those entrusted with the mission of watching over and caring for those most vulnerable. Let us beg forgiveness for our own sins and the sins of others. An awareness of sin helps us to acknowledge the errors, the crimes and the wounds caused in the past and allows us, in the present, to be more open and committed along a journey of renewed conversion.

I think this is a good example for other churches to follow as Evangelical churches are facing it's own #metoo and #churchtoo scandals, e.g. Bill Hybels and Willow Creek.

If only churches would get ahead of these before they become public scandals. If only the church could proclaim, "we heard complaints, we believed the victims, we turned it over to the police, the victimizer will not have the opportunity ever again" instead of payouts after payouts and letters of sorrow like these from Pope Francis and from Willow Creek.

Their is a much better opinion piece than mine written by Daniel José Camacho at Sojourners, Christianity is experiencing a patriarchal crisis. Writing about the same two crises he writes, "the abuse took place in environments dominated by men with inordinate power and little accountability." It does not help when supporters can only split hairs, like claiming it's only rape if there's penetration, not when there's groping or fondling, completely ignoring the forest for the weeds in front of it. Then there is the attack against women who want to bring a pastor down, even though they tell a similar story over decades, or that children are easily confused, or it's not as bad as outside the church walls.

Christianity is supposedly a representation of the man who said "Don't stop the little kids from getting to me" and who treated women with more respect than his contemporaries. But men keep doing a terrible job emulating Christ. I don't think women are better, but I do think those leaders who were formerly the systematically dominated are more likely to lead with compassion.Nevertheless, absolute power corrupts. I agree with Mr. Camacho that patriarchy is the crisis in that patriarchy is a system of maintaining power despite qualification and without checks and balances. I can assert that if it were a matriarchy, we would not be hearing much about sexual abuse of children and men.

The church needs to lead in self-policing and justice for victims, not follow up behind when caught. The church needs to tear down its systems of prejudice for/against gender or skin color or sexual orientation or education. Give the opportunity for all to qualify, and only lift up those who do qualify as good shepherds. In the short term, facilitate this for all non-majority aspirants.

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