Stephen P. White is executive director of The Catholic Project at The Catholic University of America and a fellow in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
The Church is sometimes better prepared to deal with sinners than she is to help those hurt and wounded by sin.
If you spend enough time studying the abuse crisis in the Catholic Church – i.e. if you read enough old news reports or listen to enough survivors’ testimonies – certain patterns emerge. Some of these patterns are confounding, others are simply infuriating: a failure to take allegations seriously; a tendency to underestimate the trauma caused by sexual abuse in children; a powerful instinct to protect the reputation and assets of the institution, even at the cost of harming victims and putting others at risk; a willingness to trust experts who gave bad advice, particularly about the safety of returning “rehabilitated” offenders to ministry.
As many abuse survivors are all too aware, the Church has often shown more solicitude for accused priests – even admitted abusers – than for their victims. For decades, it was the case that a priest-abuser (provided he is not laicized or in prison) could expect his diocese or religious order to send him for therapy, counseling, and – depending on the kind of offense he has committed – rehabilitation. In short, the guilty man might be removed from ministry, or have his ministry restricted, but he would have his physical, mental, and spiritual needs provided for in every possible way. His accuser, on the other hand, got to speak to a lawyer. ….
Read more here: https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2020/03/12/trauma-and-taboo/