An appalling phenomenon taking place in the recent years is the increasing number of people coming forward to report incidents of sexual abuse arising from priests in churches. Many of these cases have proven to be true and the priests identified. However, sadly, while some have removed the priests from the churches, many of them instead have tried to cover up the sexual abuse by simply transferring the offenders to various other parishes.
Perhaps the most important reason that can be attributed to cases of sexual abuse in the churches is the need for celibacy. While it may seem a mandatory requirement to some, it could be treated as an unbiblical act to demand celibacy of from leaders of the church. Humans in any case, were never designed to be celibates. Accepting priesthood means being forced into celibacy. Because of this, sexual tension and stress could arise. Catholic teaching promotes the notion of “once a priest, always a priest.” As such, this ordination of men into priesthood could be said to have caused a reluctance to defrock priests who are involved in cases of sexual abuse. Whatever be the reason for sexual abuse in the churches, priests who are guilty of sexual abuse should be punished accordingly.
In line with this, the Vatican is committed to this cause and takes a strong stand against priests who are guilty of sexual offences. The Vatican resides over all Catholic churches around the world and therefore has the responsibility to play gatekeeper. The Vatican takes decisive actions against sexual abuse and is committed to carrying out due proceedings against the guilty. This new move comes from Pope Francis who took the helm of the Roman Catholic Church which has frequently been rocked by allegations of priests sexually abusing minors. Pope Francis advised that the Church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith act decisively with regard to all cases of sexual abuse. In doing this, it should promote measures to protect minors and offer help to victims who have suffered from sexual abuse.
Over the last decade, the Vatican has set in place some new processes and strict standards for the removal of priests who are guilty of abuse. This calls for training of all personnel working in the churches. New Pope, Francis has clearly done these to establish firmly that the Vatican now takes a proactive stand on such abuses and that it has learned some very hard lessons over the last few decades. Although the Vatican has tried to take a nuanced public approach to balance action and processes in the past, Pope Francis now wants to cut all the long processes and deal with such issues simply. This is by means of no longer tolerating or sheltering the guilty regardless of rank.