A friend from Scotland alerted me to today’s Herald (formerly Glasgow Herald) headline and lead news story about a Roman Catholic priest and his nefarious activities. You can read the article here http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/how-the-catholic-church-whitewashed-priests-homosexual-advances.18276120
This was pretty close to home for me, literally. I know where this church is and I have attended some funerals there for family members who happened to be Catholic. Like most Roman Catholic congregations in the 1960’s, its teaching was vehemently anti-Protestant, and I can still remember being called a “Proddy dog” by one of my younger cousins who did not yet understand what she was saying and I can still remember the hurt I felt at that. Shame that the same cousin has no longer any faith whatsoever.
I would have thought that all of the denominations would have learned their lessons from what happened with the Catholic child abuse scandal in the US and in Ireland. It was like Watergate. The initial wrongdoing was bad enough, but the cover up made the situation explosive and toxic. Why could the Catholic hierarchy in Scotland not have asked the police to investigate this case. It might have resulted in charges of false imprisonment, attempted kidnap, or even homosexual rape, but at least the Catholics, and by implication the Christians would have not been tarred with the brush of cover up yet again. Do all the members of the Catholic hierarchy in Scotland need to go to Specsavers? Because by not having this dealt with immediately and openly by the police, all that they have done is illustrated perfectly that they cannot see beyond the end of their own noses.
What should the rest of the Christian denominations in Scotland be doing as a result? I hope that there is no gloating, but I think that they all need to say something along the lines of, “All allegations of misconduct within this church which are potentially criminal are immediately turned over to the police for a fair and unbiased investigation with the individual in question suspended while this investigation takes place. After the police investigation is complete, we will hold an internal inquiry to decide whether the person concerned is a suitable person to hold office in the church. ” And then they should do just what they say.
Whether we like it or not, the scandal of the Roman Catholic Cover-up of pedophile priests has become a cause for concern world-wide and there are those who would use it to attack all of Christianity. The churches have a responsibility to the whole of society to ensure that they have minimised the dangers and dealt with any incident as soon as it becomes know.