It may be a shock to many, but yes, sexual exploitation by church workers actually happens. According to Linda K. Oxford, LMFT, “Many churches naively assume that their church is a safe haven where abuse and exploitation of vulnerable others would never take place. Until it does.” No matter how hard the church covers up for the wrong acts of their priests, ministers, and other workers, the truth will still find its way out.
There are many issues nowadays about church workers who sexually abuse kids, and often the abuse takes place right in the house of worship. “There are a lot of myths and misperceptions right now,” says Bill Mochon, PsyD, a Los Angeles psychologist who facilitates group sessions for priests. There has been news about these things in the past, but after a day or two, the reports would die down.
But for a person who has heard it, and somehow believed it, how can he listen to a pastor or a parish priest’s message after hearing news about their dreadful sexual corruption of children? Plus the sad truth is that the higher-ups are covering these issues so not to ruin the image of the church.
This sexually abusing of children happens not only in the U.S. but around the world. For some, justice has been delivered, but for many, they are still at loss as to what will happen to their cases. What morality are we going to teach our kids especially those who are victims of abuse if justice will not be served to them?
How People React To The News About Abusive Church Workers
Asking people of different faith and those who claim to have no faith at all, all have the same negative reactions, questioning the morality of the priests and clergies who commit such abuse to an innocent child.
In a community of Catholics, it’s hard for them to accept that an ordinary individual molested a child, what more a church worker, a person who knows and believes that God will punish him for committing such act? A person who knows that he cannot hide from God’s wrath?
I even talked to some people who said that they had stopped going to church the moment they heard that a priest molested prepubescent children, letting them watch adult videos and then asking them to do those things. Others just decided to go to a different church because they can’t bear hearing God’s word from their priest whom they know belong to the same congregation.
Therapists and psychologists say this is just a natural reaction to devoted churchgoers and even to those who are not quite sure of what or where their faith is at the moment. But to those who stopped going to church, it does not necessarily mean they gave up their faith. It is possible that they just stopped believing in the system but not in God.
When a clergy or a priest molests a child, this child is not just simply traumatized. He is broken physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. If not treated or guided correctly, what will become of this child’s faith? What will become of his future?
More and more issues of sexual abuse, both boys and girls, committed by priests, clergies, and even some lays are coming out. Some of them even admitted that they, too, were molested or abused as a child by church workers as well, and blaming their acts to the experience they had in the past.
These incidents should be an eye-opener to those in authority in the church to take a look at these issues and address them appropriately. Priests and other church workers should be seeing a therapist to address their concerns and correct them early on. Because when a child gets molested by someone they are supposed to be looking up to, it’s not only their bodies that are ruined but their faith as well and the faith of others.
Keeping the faith according to a therapist is hard for the victims, the family of the victims and other devotees, but people of faith should learn to separate issues of the church from their faith in God. According to Garret B. Wyner, PsyD, “The search for a reliable faith is a search for a reliable hope.” For such people of the church who committed sexual exploitation are swayed by the works of their flesh and will not be welcomed in God’s kingdom.