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How Do I Explain the Church Scandal to My Kids?


Cindy calls into the show and asks Father Dave for advice on how to talk to her kids about the clergy abuse scandal. Father Dave asks Cindy to share what she’s already explained to her children.

“I said that Jesus is always going to be at the center of our life and that Jesus came to earth and forgave,” Cindy says. “I also said it is going to get worse before it gets better, but not every single priest is like the ones that you’re reading about. But it is an odd discussion to have.”

Father Dave responds: “I think everything that you said is exactly right on there. We do begin with the fact that, not only does our Scripture say, but our pope, when he was first elected said, ‘First and foremost, I am a sinner.’ And that’s what we believe.”

“If we have gone however much time in the Church just allowing clericalism and assume that priests are better and pure and are not sinful creatures … they literally used to carry the pope around in a throne like a king … how can somebody not have the experience or subconscious or subliminal thinking that this person is high above us mere mortals when we’re kissing their ring and all these sorts of things? … Priests are called to a higher calling than other professions. We should be living to a higher standard, and yet, the reality that we teach in Christianity is that every human being who has ever lived, with the exception of Mary the Mother of God, is a sinful creature.”

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“I think you addressed this nicely,” Father Dave continues. “Jesus is the one who is perfect and without sin, and none of us are. He has entrusted this to us, and that means inevitably that there will be ways in which we mess it up. … It is a reminder, a very stark and sickening reminder in many ways, that Jesus entrusted this Church to us flawed and sinful human beings. So, I think the way that you approached this with your teens is right on … it’s not easy, but God bless you. I think you’re on the right track with your kids.” Original Air 9-04-18  

Photo Credit: Massgoers enter Immaculate Heart of Mary Church Aug. 19 in Abbottstown, Pa., in the Diocese of Harrisburg. A Pennsylvania grand jury Aug. 14 released a months-long investigation into abuse claims spanning a 70-year period in the dioceses of Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Scranton, Allentown, Greensburg and Erie. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)