I was watching MSNBC on the coverage of the Pope’s visit to the United States. I found this trip to be entirely fascinating. In any case, I thought that the coverage was mostly pretty good other than the constant chatter over some very fine music.
In any case, MSNBC had a commentator who was a priest from the Diocese of Erie, Pennsylvania and he made a very foolish statement. He observed that Roman Catholic churches, now, are the safest place for children in the world. This was, obviously, in response to the whole crisis that the Roman Catholic church had with pedophiles.
It would be a nice thought, but it was an incredibly foolish and arrogant statement to make. It is that kind of foolishness and arrogance that got the Roman Catholic church in trouble in the first place, and the kind of foolishness and arrogance that all places that serve children can be vulnerable to.
Children should be safe. It is up to churches and any place that has children to assure that. It requires some due diligence in who children are with, the environment that they are in, accessibility to others, etc.
The problem the Roman Catholic church had was that they weren’t diligent in the past. I was never sexually abused or approached in any way, shape, or form and I did spend time with priests. I was fortunate, however, that the priests with whom I associated were not predators. Safeguards were not in place and parents readily dropped their children off for altar boy practice, etc. After all, what would be safer than having children spend time with clergy? Actually, nothing should be safe, but, sadly, we’ve found out that not all clergy ought to be alone with children. We found it out sadly and tragically.
I hope that this guy is right that the children are safer in churches than ever before. I do wish, however, he’d be a bit more cautious in that and remind all of us that diligence and safety are not innate, but worked at.