Two days ago the Australian government announced a Royal Inquiry into sex abuse and pedophilia in the Catholic church. This was prompted by innumerable cases brought to light that were reported to the church but were covered up, never reported to police and the accused clergy simply shifted to a new town.
The question has arisen as to whether confessional should be kept secret as it has traditionally or whether such cases of abuse should be reported to the police. To me, a non-Catholic I’m amazed this is a question at all and why it’s taken so many centuries to raise it.
In early foundling days the Church WAS the Law. They policed and ruled the cities. But, having a non-democratic hierarchy opened up the opportunity for bribery, secrecy and abuse where you could get away with things if you were suitably connected.
This is certainly not to say all clergy are corrupt. There are plenty who choose their vocation for the right reasons to spread the word of unconditional love and respect Christ taught.
These days the Church is not the Law yet they continue to keep confessional secrets of crimes. I would say if the church chose to stand above the Law – which is what it appears they want – and took responsibility to manage the situation well, you probably wouldn’t have an inquiry happening now.
For example, if a confession was heard of a clergyman (and they are all men because the Catholic church does not allow women equal power… so much for Christ’s teaching) abusing a child, the church removed the clergyman from his station, rehabilitated him in a way so he would have no need to re-commit the crime in the future and only then moved him back into a new neighbourhood to serve, now THAT would be taking responsibility.
They would also need to address the abused as well, helping them through the trauma psychologically and physically if necessary before the Church could satisfy the Law that they had managed the case adequately.
This may sound strange to those who believe all must be punished. My own view however, is a little different. My ideal would be:
1) The perpetrator is removed from the position (incarcerated if need be) and counselled until they fully understand the consequences of their actions, understand why they did it and go through the process of psychologically healing so they have no need to re-offend.
2) The ‘victim’ is helped through the trauma in a very different way as well. They are offered a different perspective of why this has happened, their own background and the perpetrators background so there is a fuller understanding of how it came about. Then they are counselled clear of the situation so they can live without the anguish, guilt, resentment… whatever negative vibes have resulted, and are free to live life to the fullest without the baggage.
Law of Attraction shows us what we focus on most in our minds is what we tend to draw in. That’s not to say a child is constantly scared of abuse and therefore attracts it – they probably have no conscious idea it’s coming. However a child who has ample self confidence and understands they are allowed to stand up against an adult and disagree with them, even hurt them if they get too close, is less likely to attract such a perpetrator.
We’ve all heard the saying “it’s not the events that make us who we are, it’s how we react to those events”. We can choose to let a trauma run it’s course, find a way through and move on or we can choose to hang onto that distress for the rest of our lives.
If a victim is to brought through the distress to the point where they can let it go and get back to enjoying life, then there is no need to punish the perpetrator for causing distress. Do you see what I mean?
We all need to take responsibility for ourselves, our actions, our reactions with the aim of working through our mistakes, making amends, paying the consequences and then getting on with life.
Child sexual abuse and pedophilia are not areas I’ve done much research in so I don’t completely understand what prompts it. It may be something in their own childhood they reacted to. It may be from a past life as I’ve suggested for the murderer of Jillian Meagher.
I look forward to a future where we’ll more clearly be able to see the causes of such behaviour and be able to fully rehabilitate perpetrators while they are incarcerated. When we can do this well there will be no committing of the same crime once they’ve done their time and are released. They’ll understand themselves more clearly, grow in self esteem and become better citizens.
As we all learn to understand this better the general populace will also be less likely to hold onto a grudge and can forgive themselves as well as each other.
Bring it on!
Kitegirl Annabelle Drumm
PS – In a Nostradamus book I read about 10 years ago, he named this Pope to be the last painting a scene of him walking away from the Establishment stepping over the bodies of his clergy. Let’s hope Nostradamus was speaking figuratively and not literally.
Royal commission to consider confessional seal http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-14/roxon-begins-consultations-on-royal-commission/4370498
Irish Judge warns abuse inquiry will take time http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-13/irish-judge-warns-abuse-inquiry-may-take-longer-than-expected/4370208
Broken Rites explanation of the Catholic Church “Towards Healing” system http://brokenrites.alphalink.com.au/nletter/page185-towards-healing.html