SYDNEY (NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA)
Catholic Weekly – Archdiocese of Sydney
May 7, 2020
By Dr Philippa Martyr
A difficult conversation – but necessary
If we are going to do real soul-searching about clergy sexual abuse, it’s time we turned the spotlight on to the laity and their role in enabling abusers.
This is a difficult conversation to begin. We are used to seeing ourselves as the good guys, and the solution, not the problem: that if we had lay-led parishes or diocesan offices, this would rid us of clergy abuse for good.
Unfortunately, history is not on our side. Cases of clergy sexual abuse in the English-speaking world reveal any number of compromised lay people who have helped with covering up and explaining away, either directly or indirectly.
The ‘lay clericalism’ of the insiders
They are usually wealthy and influential, or employed by the Church, or in useful professions. Start with the Boston case, so admirably narrated in ‘Spotlight’- a good reminder that almost all clergy abuse has been exposed by outsider journalists, not by people inside the Church.
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