Child abuse is a truly hideous thing. When it is done by anyone it is hideous; when done by those professing to be Christians it is worse; when done by those professing to the Catholics it is worse still and when done by priests it reaches to the very slime of hideousness.
When these crimes are exposed and a light is shined on them, we are all supposed to learn from them. We should see how it came to be and make absolutely sure that it can never happen under our watch.
I am sorry to say I think there are probably whole chambers of hell filled with nice, polite Christians, the pillars of their parishes and communities, who simply would not allow their noses to sniff the foulness of abuse and could not face it was happening, so allowed the victim to continue to be a victim and put other victims into the power of the abuser.
(These chambers are right above the ones for politicians and journalists who use child abuse and murder to dishonestly attack the innocent for political gain.)
Why is this?
We could say, that was then, this is now. psychology has moved on and we now understand that abusers are committing grave evil and it must be stopped. But have we moved on?
Very very recently a child was being abused, quite systematically and increasingly publicly. There were a couple of families trying to mitigate the damage being done to this child by giving food and other things.
Lots of people saw the child on a regular basis, including school staff, and many observed with their own eyes the shocking abuse suffered and yet no one did anything.
Finally someone phoned social services and the child’s minister. For TWO YEARS more nothing was done.
Finally when it seemed that this child’s life was being completely ruined the same person returned to the phone and a couple of other people joined in making the calls and finally social services and the police were involved. The reason people took so long to tell authorities about this child was because it is very well known that social workers are often very unprofessional, and lack discretion. It was quite rightly feared that if social services got involved and let it be known how they had come to be involved and yet did nothing to help the child, even the support the child did have might be removed by the abusers.
Nevertheless in the end this child has been removed and helped, thankfully. But there was some shockingly unChristian behaviour in sucking up the abusers done by some people openly bragging that it wasn’t them who helped this poor child.
When so called Christians behave like this, what hope is there?
All those who pretend that their church or community is too nice for that sort of thing are culpable in its continuation.
It seems to me that for all the stuff said about child abuse by those who have never had to deal with it, there is still a pretty nasty insistence among “nice” people to let the children be abused so long as there is no fuss made.
Those who refuse to act on behalf of the least of God’s children will find eternity very dark and very hot. It is well past time to wake up.