Though it seems completely inconsistent with their own ideology, the Catholic Church has told new Bishops that they don’t have to report sex abuse of children. Though it is shocking, this guidance is fairly consistent with the church’s long history of protecting priests who have sexually abused children.
According to the state of civil laws of each where reporting is obligatory, it is not necessarily the duty of the bishop to report suspects to authorities, the police or state prosecutors in the moment when they are made aware of crimes or sinful deeds… (Source)
How Christian of them. Credit: Cathy Wilcox This is the type of bullshit that allows and encourages systemic breakdowns in protecting children.
For a belief system that emphasizes morality, this type of statement seems incredibly hypocritical, though it is consistent with the church’s repulsive history of protecting pedophiles. Victims of sex abuse, especially children, often withhold disclosures of being sexually abused. Some of the reasons for this may be lack of proper body safety education, shaming, and fear of a negative reaction from their parents and/or retribution from their abuser.
Many states, including my home state, have laws requiring anyone aware of child abuse or neglect to report the concern. Not all states have this law, though. Does this mean that the safety of a child is dependent on the state they happened to be born in?
Children, especially victims of abuse/neglect, will [most often](most often) disclose to a friend and are unlikely to make their initial disclosure to a professional (school, law enforcement, etc.). Many children may have a close relationship with their church’s youth liaison, meaning that under the church’s current policy, disclosures may go unreported.
John Allen of Catholic website Cruxnow.com reported that the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, created by Pope Francis to help combat child abuse, was not consulted regarding the Bishop training. Allen makes a strong point- Why bother creating a commission for child advocacy when you don’t bother to utilize them?
But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
Kind of makes Jesus sound like a pervert.
Besides, what kind of God would allow a child to be sexually abused? Either God allows a child to be sexually abused, making him an asshole, or God is unable to prevent a child from being sexually abused, meaning he’s not all-powerful. Which is it?
[Research suggests ](Research suggests )that childhood sex abuse may affect the volume of the hippocampus, part of the [Limbic System](Limbic System), which is associated with emotions. Additionally, harsh corporal punishment has been shown to [reduce gray matter](reduce gray matter) in the brains of young adults. If you have concerns for the safety of a child in the US or Canada, you can contact Childhelp 24/7 at 1-800-4-A-CHILD to be forwarded to your local CPS agency.
Reporting child welfare concerns is everybody’s responsibility, regardless of your religious belief system.