In the late 1980s, Barbara Brown Zikmund lamented the failure of churches prior to the 1960s to understand and help working women, women who had first moved into the workplace during World War II. The indices of the Century during the ’40s and ’50s demonstrate how little attention mainline religion gave to women’s issues during those years.
The sexual abuse of children is a national pandemic. According to statistics from a number of reliable epidemiological studies, one in five women and one in ten men living in the United States had a sexual experience with someone over the age of 18 when they were a child.
Gwen opens the circle session at nine a.m. on a Monday morning with a reading from Alcoholics Anonymous’ Blue Book. The theme is powerlessness, and Gwen reads in a halting voice. Her audience is a group of women who’ve come to work here in an old parsonage just up the hill from a well-heeled Episcopal church.
Servants of the Paraclete founder warned church leaders
May 05, 2009
A Catholic priest who specialized in treating sexually abusive priests strongly advised church leaders—including Pope Paul VI—that abusers should be defrocked and possibly exiled to a Caribbean island, according to correspondence recently unearthed by an independent Catholic newspaper.
Though some Catholic leaders blame homosexual priests for much of their church’s sexual-abuse problems, the predominantly gay Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches has had no sexual-abuse liability claims filed against the denomination in the past 25 years. Yet the California-based church body has not been free of offenders.
The latest wave of sexual abuse scandals crashing upon Catholic parishes and chanceries has apparently missed most Protestant churches. In fact, analysts and insurers give credit to mainline churches for adopting policies and practices in the early 1990s aimed at protecting minors from coercive intimacy in congregational settings.
How do we handle clergy sexual misconduct faithfully and compassionately? The issues and challenges extend far beyond any one crisis, and indict all churches that have failed to recognize the complexity of those issues and faithfully engage them.
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