As you know, the Catholic Church been in the news again. Building on his commitment to address the abuse crisis, Pope Francis released a vademecum (handbook) on the points of procedure for handling clergy sex abuse. The document provides best practices for Church leaders and also a guide for victims to understand the steps that will take place after filing a complaint.
George Weigel, a prolific scholar and Vatican expert, has a piece about the next pope in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required). He argues that Francis’ successor must make a priority of ending clerical sexual abuse and implementing safe environment policies.
Current Policies Aren’t Enough
We can all agree that ending the clergy sex abuse crisis must be a priority. But I don’t think that the current policies are enough. During the Program of Church Management’s (PCM) May 5 webinar, “Transparency and Governance in the Church,” one of the participants, David Bender, a partner at Haynes and Boone, specializing in insurance matters and risk management, noted that he’d never seen a case of [clergy] sexual abuse that didn’t involve access to money.
After following the sex abuse scandal for almost two decades and speaking with numerous experts, I’ve yet to come across a case that didn’t involve the abuse of power and money. This is part of the reason why I’m so passionate about the work of the Global Institute of Church Management. By teaching current and future Church leaders management best practices that include financial transparency and accountability, we eliminate the opportunities for clerical sex abuse to take place. We also address clericalism because we promote a model in which the laity and the clergy work together, both with an understanding of servant leadership.
I’ve yet to come across a [sex abuse] case that didn’t involve the abuse of power and money.Tweet
In many ways, the problem of clergy sex abuse is complex. In other ways, it is not. I think we provide some of the essential resources needed to create a climate in which clergy sex abuse is impossible. Further, I believe that this is how we create the Church that both the faithful and Our Lord deserve.
Join Us in Creating a Stronger Church
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As you heard during our launch event, PCM has made tremendous progress in just three years. The fourth cohort begins in February and we hope to announce the first international partnership this fall, soon to be followed by others.