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Michelle Freeland MI

Bay City, MI

#21 May 25, 2012
Should we reject Christs church because of mans sin? If we do then we reject Christ, period.
Sexual abuse in the church: not just a “Catholic problem”
Have you been following news about Pope Benedict's visit to the US? There are a lot of issues he'll undoubtedly address before the visit concludes, but the one that's attracting the most attention is the ugly history of sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic church. He's already made some comments on the issue, although given the gravity of the scandals, one suspects and hopes that he'll have more to say in the next few days.
It's tempting to see these horrible instances of sexual abuse within the church as a "Catholic problem," something unique to the Catholic church and its clerical hierarchy. And of course there's the "it could never happen here" line of reasoning (and that's a hard line to resist—I can't imagine a sexual abuse scandal happening in my church, even though I know the statistics say it could).
But there's a timely article this month at Christianity Today about sex abuse in the church that cautions against such assumptions. In fact, it suggests that many churches lag behind secular organizations in facing the reality of the problem:
In the last three years, an average of 23 new articles each day have appeared in secular media sources revealing sexual abuse allegations arising in Protestant churches in the United States. Protestant denominations have been tempted to call sexual abuse a "Catholic problem"; this is simply not true. Within the past eight years, verdicts, judgments, or settlements exceeding hundreds of millions of dollars have been levied against Protestant churches for sexual abuse allegations arising from children participating in ministry programs.
The church and its children are increasingly endangered by sexual predators whose opportunity to ensnare children elsewhere is growing smaller, while the church opens its doors to anyone. Sexual abusers looking for access to children will gravitate to activities and organizations where there are fewer protective measures in place. Secular organizations have responded to this inevitable truth by implementing policies and training to reduce risk. Many churches, however, have done little, because ministries fail to recognize the risks or are laboring under the misconception "it won't happen here."
The article goes on to dispel common myths about sexual abuse in the church (think your church is safe and legally covered because you do criminal background checks, or because you downloaded a generic abuse policy from the internet? Think again...). And it concludes with some good suggestions for intelligently approaching the possibility of sexual abuse in your church.
Not a pleasant topic to think about. But if your church isn't thinking about it, well, with the issue in the news again, "right now" is a good time to get on it.
Michelle Freeland MI

Bay City, MI

#22 May 25, 2012
Comments:At my church we have checks and balances in place. The biggest one is that there must be 2 children's workers when ever a child is present. I am a voulenteer in the kids department and when one of the staff asked me to help clean up the craft room with my kids helping to, I told him to go ahead with the kids I would be right there. He said no, he would wait till I finished what I was doing. Even with my expressed consent he could not break the rules.Things like bathrooms are kids only and if there is an adult in there, they are to tell us so we can address it.
Is it a perfect system, nope. But it is better than what we had before. In fact the church does a seminar to teach other churches what they had learned. And the reason why all this was started 5 years ago... a male staff member at the Christian School was abusing young boys. We have probably gone overboard, but it is better than going through all that over again.
Fri, April 18,2008 I couldn't find an article about this so I will offer what I remember, but it may not be completely accurate. An Illinois Baptist (SBC newspaper) writer was forced to resign after reporting on a pastor that was arrested for sex abuse. Several people believed that his reporting on the issue was negative press and the state newspaper should only be telling positive stories about the Illinois Baptist. But not long after a former president of the Illinois Baptist was arrested in a prostitution sting and another church was written about by the Chicago Tribune because they knowingly hired a pastor that had been accused of sex abuse by two previous churches. Not a Catholic only problem
Fri, April 18, 2008
Safe Sanctuary is a program run by the United Methodist Church. It consists of trained personnel working at the conference level going to churches within the conference and providing training for the church, personnel who work with the youth of the church and for those working in church camps. It gives people a chance to see what really is out there as related to child abuse, not just physical, but emotional and psychological abuse. What to look for where ever you may be, either in a church setting, on mission trips or in camps. I don't know what is close to you, but from what I understand if you contact your local United Methodist church, they maybe able to get you in contact with their conference people to get you started on the program. I have been a criminal investigator for the US Government for over 30 years and I work with our conference as a trainer in Safe Sanctuary. In God's Grace John
Fri, April 18, 2008
Sounds like an excellent program, John. Thanks for the info!
Fri, April 18, 2008
Thanks for the link--I will be passing this to my pastor.
About sexual abuse being a Catholic problem--the abuse itself isn't; I'm sure every denomination has its share of paedophiles.
There is far more examples of good works done in the name of the church. Should we reject Christs church because of mans sin? If we do then we reject Christ period.
Fri, April 18, 2008 Let me be the first to say that I find anti-Catholic rhetoric disturbing and just a bit disingenuous. Some of typical references like the "Gunpowder Plot" have more to do with political persecution than an official act of the Catholic Church. Others occurred well before the Protestant Reformation making them a part of shared Christian history which taints all as well as the Catholics for whom many appear to hold such disdain.
I submit to you that sin (sexual or otherwise) knows no ecclesiastical boundaries and this kind of spiritual oneupmanship turns away unbelievers from the church. It's also why believers like myself have become disillusioned with what currently passes for Christianity in America. There are plenty of "skeletons" in the closets of Catholic and Protestant churches alike. This is not uniquely or historically a Catholic problem.
And no, I'm not Catholic - just a Christian who feels disconnected from the church in America.
Michelle Freeland MI

Bay City, MI

#23 May 25, 2012
NOT protested protestant........
vicar general

Las Vegas, NV

#24 Jul 6, 2012
Please continue to pray for the souls of the many homosexual priests in the Diocese of Saginaw. Pray they may have a moral conversion and end their sexual immorality. Pray that their mental impairment will not bring scandle to the church and further damage a broken church.
Vicar General-tm

Las Vegas, NV

#25 Aug 20, 2012
Another priest busted in the Diocese of Saginaw. Told you so!
Former Catholic

Big Rapids, MI

#26 Oct 17, 2012
concern catholic wrote:
Did the Reverend Father Thomas Sutton come out of the closet yet?
He never will. It will show weakness on his part... And Tommy loves to have the power!
Here we go again

United States

#27 Oct 30, 2012
Did you hear? Bessert is back in the saddle again. He's at a parish with a school and is a block away from a college. Lots of fresh meat. Broke back parish the sequel.
vicar general

Las Vegas, NV

#28 Nov 10, 2012
The placing of homosexual priests near children needs to, especially those with mental issues. But with all homosexual priest, or any priest who is living a life other than that which Christ called them to do, it will catch up to them, and they will be exposed for who they really are. The Roman Church is so good at sweeping issues under the carpet in order to look strong and trustworthy in the community. The truth is the church is losing ground fast. People are leaving in great numbers all over the world, seeking Jesus Christ our Savior who is not clothed in laws and represented by wolves in sheep clothing. It is good to pray for the souls of these priests and conversion of heart. With Jesus all things are possible, and recognizing our sinful nature and doing something about it, will allow the Holy Spirit to work through a true disciple. I have been there, been negatively influenced by many roman priests, and served only myself. IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO CHANGE AND TRULY PUT ON CHRIST.

Shepherd, MI

#29 Jan 12, 2013
Here we go again wrote:
Did you hear? Bessert is back in the saddle again. He's at a parish with a school and is a block away from a college. Lots of fresh meat. Broke back parish the sequel.
This is our parish! I hadn't heard any of this. What don't we know that we should know???

Rockford, MI

#30 May 25, 2014
Didnt even know of this posting probably no one now will read if anyone does an knows how to forwatd it to cistone please do it. not familar with how. what i have to say bout cistone is ecactly what he is an outright liar. he has did nothing for the psrishoners since he has been here except deceive them. shutting down all the schools an churches is not godly especially for his own pocket is sick. people dont realize he still has a lawyer to pay with parishoners money to fight for himself with his involement of the coverup. i wish everone in the saginaw diocese would stop all contrabutions for one month he would have to leave then cuz he wouldnt have any money just like what he did to all..having no church. closing churchs is not godly. Because of cistone my guess the whole catholic diocese will fall as well as thosr churchs that might still be left. hopefully he wont have sold them all by then an when hes left the area someone will reopen those churchs that he wrongly closed. too bad he cant see that there are more people discussted with him than not.
Trapped in Sagnasty

Mount Pleasant, MI

#31 Nov 25, 2015
Fr. Jim Bessert somehow has be able to avoid much effects from the scandal. For some reason he is in a prominent position with the bishop's ear. If you are going to live in direct opposition to the church, why be Catholic, let alone a priest?

Saint Louis, MI

#32 Dec 3, 2015
Trapped in Sagnasty wrote:
Fr. Jim Bessert somehow has be able to avoid much effects from the scandal. For some reason he is in a prominent position with the bishop's ear. If you are going to live in direct opposition to the church, why be Catholic, let alone a priest?
Do you think Fr. Bessert has the best interests of the church or does he want to create an environment that allows him to live in sin and lead people astray but condoning a homosexual lifestyle? Seems like you are putting yourself in a bad position with our Lord if that is the case.
Anthony Scarpuzzi NJ4LIFE

Morris Plains, NJ

#33 May 20, 2016
If the sex is consensual, then what exactly is the problem?

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