With the headlines blaring these days about priests who have been abusive to children, it’s important to note that we’re talking about a small percentage of priests who have abused children. Nonetheless, it’s a serious problem that we all hold some responsibility to keep at bay.
I would say that the first thing we should do is apologize on behalf of the church that we are part of, even though we haven’t done anything. We are part of a family of faith and if a member of your immediate family had done something horrible you’d be quick to apologize.
Secondly, I would note four things that I have found to be helpful. One is to be vigilant. All dioceses have classes for people who work with children that are mandatory for all to take. Secondly, is to speak up if you know of a situation of abuse. Third, is to go out of your way to support anyone who has been abused. And lastly, is to pray. Pray for not only the victims but also for those who have abused others. Healing needs to happen here on many levels as well as justice for those who have abused others. We can indeed be a church of forgiveness but with that forgiveness, needs to come justice and retribution.