29 October 2008

Update on Clergy Sexual Abuse

"It's not uncommon for pedophiles to gravitate toward jobs and professions that give them access to children," said a psychologist friend of mine. "We see them become, or try to become teachers, priests, that sort of thing."

I can imagine a pedophile, in denial about his tendency, being drawn to the priesthood. Once a priest, he abuses a child and is found out by another priest, who protects him. But why is he protected? Perhaps the other priest is a pedophile who has thus far successfully resisted temptation, and feels that "there but for the grace of God go I." Perhaps the other priest is just trying to protect the institution on which he has come to depend for his livelihood. Even worse, perhaps neither priest is in denial, and they both sought the priesthood with malice aforethought. I do not know.

Nowadays I imagine that the Church seeks professional help in evaluating and eliminating candidates for such tendencies, but again I don't know.

I do know that the abuse of parishoners, especially young ones, by clergy can be devastating. Kay Goodnow has contributed the text of her deposition to a mediator concerning her experience of clergy abuse.

Have a read. The church settled out of court, meeting the monetary settlement, but reneging on the non-monetary provisions. Much like what one would expect of a business, rather than what one would expect of a church that professes to care about the well-being, the souls of its members.

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