Addressing the roots of clergy sex abuse

LaCroix International

June 28, 2019

By Father Amado Picardal

At the root of clergy sex abuse is the “dark side” of leadership. To overcome the dark side, a priest must be aware of it and acknowledge its existence. This requires spending time in solitude, silence and prayerful reflection.

This is a time spent for examining his life and conscience. This should be done regularly and be part of the rhythm of his life. This is a time for introspection — to examine the lights and the shadows of his exercise of leadership.

This is the time to see the ulterior motives behind deeds and behavior. The question that one must constantly ask is: “Which temptation am I most vulnerable to? How far have I succumbed to the temptation of the dark side?”

Acknowledging that he is a sinner and have submitted to domination from the dark side is the first step. There is a need to recognize and struggle against his personal demons.

This requires going through a process of conversion (metanoia) — a conversion to Christ, a moral conversion — to change how he behaves and how he lives.

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