31 October, 2013

Shunned, then fired: A priest’s tale of what happened when he discussed sex abuse | National Post

This story echoes allegations made by Fr. Matthew Despard in his book 'Priesthood in Crisis' - which sadly for him has resulted in a number of law suits and canonical actions all claiming defamation of character from priests that he named as being unfaithful to their religious vows. At least the priest in this article has another career to fall back on as he's a university professor as well as being a priest. Fr. Matthew is not so lucky. The fact is that priests are loathe to report other brother priests who have abused or failed in their religious obligations. I (unfortunately) know from first hand experience that doing so can result in the severing of contact with other priests who believe that our reporting on others brings shame on all of us. 

Happily though, this is slowly breaking down as more and more priests are indeed reporting to all the appropriate authorities whenever we are told of any incidents of abuse because they understand that the greater damage is done to the Church and the faith of believers by remaining silent.

Shunned, then fired: A priest’s tale of what happened when he discussed sex abuse | National Post

3 comments:

  1. "Happily though, this is slowly breaking down as more and more priests are indeed reporting to all the appropriate authorities whenever we are told of any incidents of abuse because they understand that the greater damage is done to the Church and the faith of believers by remaining silent."
    How is this "slow breaking down" being indicated to you Fr. Tim? For example: out of the most recent five accused/charged priests from the Pembroke diocese who have been investigated/charged/convicted for child sexual assault , have any of the investigations been launched as a result of a priest or bishop report to the authorities or have they all been as a result of the victim reporting to the authorities?
    We really have been hearing from yourself in particular and from the church in general for a number of years now - most often after a ‘fresh’ round of charges- that ‘things’ are ‘ happily’ and slowly getting ‘better’ e.g. more transparent and less tolerance for clerical child rapists, and then those words are always followed by actions that reveal the truth is contrary… ‘things’ are getting worse.
    Silence does indeed do greater damage to the church and most of all to victims. To continue to build false hope does no better.

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  2. "Silence does indeed do greater damage to the church and most of all to vistims. To build false hope does no better"...so simple..so well said..Thank you Larry, you have captured the feeling of the people perfectly..we don't beleive that this is working..our "churches" are empty because we don't beleive that "YOU", the church, are responding.."YOU" must act and act now!

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  3. I work with a youth organization that has had some issues in the abuse are (especially in the US). I've been very impressed with the training that I've had to undergo, especially with regards to keeping children safe and keeping adult volunteers safe from false accusations. But the best message in the training was the message that if you encounter abuse you are to make two phone calls, first to the local authorities and secondly to the organization headquarters.

    This priest did the right thing in reporting it to his superiors. That fact that he was seemingly rebuked was appalling. Perhaps the rule needs to go out, report to the police first because one can't trust the hierarchy.

    ReplyDelete

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