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The news of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report detailing decades of sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church demands a pastoral response from leaders across denominations.
As your Rector and Dean, I am horrified. These despicable acts and the hierarchy’s coverups are even more evil because they were perpetrated by the very shepherds that the Lord has called to care for the sheep. But the Lord has words for such abusers in the church: “Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I am against these shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep” (Ezekiel 34:10).
But outrage alone is not enough. We are committed to heightening our screening and supervision of all who minister, especially to the most vulnerable. Our safe-church practices and policies for clergy, staff, and volunteers at Christ Church are best in class, and as the world of social media and technology changes we are constantly making improvements to keep safety our first priority.
But finally, we will hold accountable all those who have abuse claims brought against them. We are blessed to be part of a diocese that has clear and transparent processes should a claim ever be brought forward. Our Anglican governance structure is set up to make sure that, regardless of a person’s position within the Church, no one is above the law.
These headlines should remind us that sexual abuse and abuse of power are not just modern day phenomenons, but have plagued every generation since the fall of man. We grieve with those who grieve. If you are personally affected by this news—if you are a victim of sexual misconduct—we are here to help carry your burden. Your safety and healing are our priority.
The Very Rev. Canon Paul DonisonRector & Dean of Christ Church
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