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Thursday
Aug232018

When Gods House Becomes A House of Abuse

13 And He declared to them, “It is written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer.’ But you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”Matthew 21:13

The headlines recently reported yet another sex scandal in the Catholic Church. 

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- 

A priest raped a 7-year-old girl while he was visiting her in the hospital after she'd had her tonsils removed. Another priest forced a 9-year-old boy into having oral sex, then rinsed out the boy's mouth with holy water. One boy was forced to say confession to the priest who sexually abused him.

Those children are among the victims of roughly 300 Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania who molested more than 1,000 children - and possibly many more - since the 1940s, according to a sweeping state grand jury report released Tuesday that accused senior church officials, including a clergyman who is now the archbishop of Washington, D.C., of systematically covering up complaints. 

This again is another sign of what is to come. I don’t believe this is the end of the depravity in the church, I think it’s just the beginning. If this report is true, every Catholic Diocese in America has this kind of problem; it is not an isolated case. This weekend the Pope is in Ireland partly because of the sex abuse problem there. His apologies will never be enough for the victims of abuse because every year there are more victims sharing their stories on how sexual abuse happened to them in the house of the Lord. 

As the Pope visits Ireland this weekend, many are hopeful he will begin a process that will  bring the Catholic Church to new leadership standards of moral order.  That order needs to remove restrictions that keeps priests from marrying.

1. The first area of reform must start with the removal of all restrictions on priests who are forbidden to marry.

Along with the lifting of the celibacy rules, the church must adapt a better way of recruiting their priests. It is quite obvious that the church has protected predators for decades without much concern for the victims all in the name of religion. The priesthood is full of men who are predators who take the vow of chastity and then prey on the innocent who are under their care. 

2. The second area of reform is one of accountability for priests. Clergy in general struggle with pornography and sexual sin. 

Patrick Means, author of, 
Men’s Secret Wars, reveals that 63% of pastors surveyed confirm that they are struggling with sexual addiction or sexual compulsion including, but not limited to, the use of pornography, compulsive masturbation, or other secret sexual activity.

Taking a vow of celibacy does not protect you against the temptation of sexual sin. I think that any single man in our sex-crazed world would find it even more difficult to steer clear of pornography. 

Patrick Means goes on to say:Seventy-five percent of pastors do not make themselves accountable to anyone for their Internet use. This is a problem, as I’m sure you can already tell, but I don’t think all hope is lost. “For a pastor to maintain sexual purity, he needs a band of brothers with whom he can be open and honest.” Sexual sin runs deep.Accountability should run deeper. If you find yourself in a situation where sexual sin has taken over or you’ve considered entertaining the idea find someone to talk to.

Reform must place accountability measures in place that requires all church personnel working in a ministerial position to have accountability partners. 

3. The third area of reform needs to be how we identify clergy and laity.

The Bible tells us that all leadership gifts in the church are designed by God to provide training for all members to do the ministry. Priests are often left to do ministry of the church, and that model is not a Biblical format. If the believers in any church are equipped to do the work of the ministry there is safety in numbers as they deal with the public. 

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,  to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.     - Ephesians 4:11-12

This format of ministry reminds us that all members of God’s body are priests and ministers of His Grace.  All believers are priests and there isn’t any distinction between the importance of ordained ministers and priests and the laity as it concerns doing ministry for God.  

And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What's more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. 1 Peter 2:5

I share these scriptures as a foundation for why the system is so flawed as it concerns how we see priests and ministers and how the religious system is grounded in tradition and not in the Lord. There is no hierarchy between clergy and laity; in fact I would like to see these terms completely disappear. Moving ministry away from models where there is one person in charge of the ministry role is clearly a model we want to abandon. Ministry models where gifted people in groups can reassure that someone isn’t being set up to become a victim of a predator leader who preys upon the vulnerable. 

I know my suggestions here are simplistic in retrospect, but if a corporation had as many sexual abuse cases as the Catholic Church it would be out of business. 

Judgment begins in the House of the Lord. 

Keeping it honest and truthful…K 

 

 

 

 

 

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