Radio Show

Sexual Abuse in the Church: How Do We Move Forward?


Father Dave and Team Busted Halo discuss the horrific news of clergy sexual abuse in Pennsylvania. We speak of our sadness and frustration, and Father Dave describes how this affects him as a priest.

Father Dave was asked to appear on TV to discuss the reports of sexual abuse; he talks about why he didn’t turn down the opportunity: “I really just feel like we can’t say ‘no comment’ anymore. There’s ducking under lawyers and pleading the fifth. All of this has gotten the Church in a whole mess of trouble … It’s also time to not just talk on our own terms, because I think we as Church do that a lot, too. We’ll hold a press conference or put out statements that say we are saddened. … I saw an article today that said, ‘Bishops, we don’t need your sadness, we need better men.’”

“Today was the day 25 years ago that I experienced a call to the priesthood, and I didn’t think I was worthy then—certainly for my own imperfections and sinfulness, I thought I laugh too much, and I’m kind of goofy. But also that I am not, and nobody is, worthy of these offices that we have been entrusted with—and that’s the big thing: the trust has been completely evacuated. …There has been a great groundswell of people who are committed to this Church who are no longer willing to put up with the hierarchy of the Church not living up to the basic standards of law, let alone being called to a higher standard because we are in the person of Christ. Nobody is above the law. There is no theology or Church teaching that says that bishops or priests or anybody else should be above the law … and it seems like some of us have been acting as if it is.”

Christina also responds to the news from Pennsylvania. “This is something that has really affected me,” she says. “I’ve just been sad all day and disgusted. And I feel a lot of mistrust. I feel that I can’t trust the people that are in leadership in our Church. And it’s devastating. I feel so horrible for the victims who will probably not see justice. It’s horrifying, and I don’t even know what to say or do. I feel like my hands are tied. What can I do? Even for priests, what can they do? Our good priests, our good shepherds, your hands are tied too. What do we do as a Church?”

Father Dave also expresses his frustration. “It was never okay to be doing the kinds of things that we’ve heard described in this grand jury report,” he says. “It was never okay to lure people who were underage … these are sickening things to hear of. And then you think, who at any level ever thought that that person shouldn’t immediately go to jail? … It’s mind-boggling.”

Brett asks Father Dave if it is tough wearing a collar today. “It’s very tough. The first time the scandal hit in 2002, I was only ordained two years and could have never imagined the priesthood as anything other than good. I remember somebody across the street spitting on the sidewalk upon seeing me walking along in my collar, and I was waiting for that to happen today. … Yes, it’s difficult to be in a collar today, but I felt that it is also important to wear it. … We’ve done enough duck-and-cover, enough hiding.” (Original Air 8-15-18)