Catholics, Southern Baptists face sexual abuse reckoningPosted by Robert Leonard / February 20, 2019
This week, at the behest of Pope Francis, bishops from around the world will travel to Rome, where they will discuss how to protect minors from sexual predation by the clergy. This first-of-its-kind meeting marks a significant change for the Church, which has heretofore denied wrongdoing, silenced the abused, and protected abusers. The meeting is meant to teach bishops how to stop abuse, to encourage clergy to hold each other accountable, and how to listen to (instead of ignoring or discrediting) victims.
As the Church faces this long-needed reckoning, however, other ghosts from its past are surfacing. The New York Times has reported that the Vatican confirmed the existence of an internal document offering guidance for dealing with children fathered by priests. This piece may lead to an outcry by the children of priests and spark yet another sex-related scandal involving the Catholic Church.
In the United States, a Protestant denomination faces a similar challenge. The Southern Baptist convention, the largest evangelical denomination in the nation, has just announced initial recommendations for dealing with a sex abuse scandal that shook the denomination to its core: nearly 400 church leaders have been accused of assault since 1998. In addition to the initial recommendations for rectifying the problem, the subject will also be a primary topic at the denomination’s annual convention.
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