Sometimes there really are no words. There are no words to explain. There are no words to lessen the pain. There are no words to make things better. Instead, the most appropriate response is to tear.
When the Pennsylvania Grand Jury reported its findings on child sex abuse by Roman Catholic clergy, it was a time for tears and deep mourning. The report tells of more than 1000 victims of sexual abuse in that state dating back over 70 years. Pastors and priests that should have defended and protected children abused them. Lives were forever disrupted and destroyed. Bishops regularly looked the other way, excused the behavior and systematically covered up the crimes. It is very likely that this took place not only in Pennsylvania but in many other parts of the country as well.
Although this abuse took place within the Catholic Church, it has an impact on all who profess to follow Jesus Christ. We are all concerned and outraged by the way in which these children were treated. Furthermore, when any community of faith acts in ways that are contrary to the gospel, it undermines the witness of Christians everywhere. Those outside the church will not draw a line between Protestant and Catholic.
We call upon all churches and church leaders to shoulder the responsibility to care for and protect children in their care. We recognize that this needs to start within our own congregation. For more than a decade, Calvary Church and other churches in our conference have strong Safe Sanctuary policies and procedures in place to protect children, youth, and vulnerable adults that participate in church-sponsored activities. These procedures and policies are reviewed and updated regularly to minimize the risk of abuse and its consequences.
We weep for the victims and pray for their healing.