The Vatican released the findings of its investigation into the abuse perpetrated by the former Cardinal of Washington, Theodore McCarrick. The report faults Pope John Paul II and others in the Catholic Church for McCarrick’s rise spares the current Pope. The 449-page report determined that Pope Francis merely continued his predecessors’ handling of the predator until a former altar boy alleged abuse. Francis defrocked the 90-year-old McCarrick last year after a Vatican investigation confirmed decades of allegations that the successful church fundraiser had sexually molested adults as well as children. The contents of the report and the publication of the underlying material evidence, is gut wrenching. Laying shattered between the lines are the lives of countless people, families and the reputation of the Church of Jesus Christ.

How do we respond to such headlines? We weep. We allow ourselves to the feel deeply the righteous rage of such sins. We commit ourselves anew to being people who are fiercely guard the purity of the Church and submit ourselves to the requirements of our local congregations designed to safeguard children and adults at all times and in all places the church meets and ministers. We also commit ourselves to becoming people who are safe to tell.

This is soil we have tilled at length on both Connecting Faith and Mornings with Carmen. I invite you to become equipped:

You can find additional resources for your church at CaringWell.com

The bottom line: God hates abuse of every kind, in any place, under any circumstances. But when it is done in His name, in His house, by those charged to represent Him, it is not hard to imagine God’s anger burning particularly hot.  When victims of abuse come forward, we must be prepared to hear them, hold them, believe them, protect them and hold those responsible accountable.  As sisters and brothers in Christ, we are responsible to respond to those who have experienced abuse in the church and we are responsible to do everything we can to safeguard others.  I encourage you to become thoroughly equipped for this hard, good work.

These may be the hardest conversations you’ve ever had. But they are conversations we must have.

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