The academic journal, ‘Wiping Away The Tears: A Faith Community Responds To Clergy Sexual Abuse In The Roman Catholic Chruch’ justifies on what can be done in response to such pain reflected on clergy sexual abuse in their community. (my thesis)
The Community of Albany Catholic Workers is convinced that churches today are ‘broken.’ They are upset that members of clergy sexually assaulted teenagers and children. They are angry with U.S Bishops and their staff for ignoring the issue of sexual abuse in the church. The U.S Bishops still giving an authority position to clergies who harmed without any consequence to their actions just so the church does not look bad to the public. Many times this leads to more abuse.
It should be noted that, ‘In 2000, the bishops of New York issued a pastoral statement on restorative justice and criminal justice system, Restoring All to the fullness of Life’ basically this document is meeting the needs of the victims that were abused, for those who did the abusing, and the general public. But in this document, it does not deal with the direct abuse in the churches. Above all, they all wait in faith for the moment when ‘God will wipe away the tears from all faces.’ Through the way of Christ, members of the church want to spread the word of God to others who have been victims of clergy abuse and want them to come to light with their tragic stories. At this time, the author asks, what can be done to help victims and clergy to restore forgiveness and healing within themselves and the church.
Bishop Hubbard, a trusted Diocese of Albany who was accused of sex abuse. He openly apologized and wanted people to write letters to him about his scandal. This example greatly supports the authors’ views on wanting more priest to come forth and confess to the harm they caused. Therefore, with all the chaos happening, there was a hotline, counseling, and prayer of worship offered for victims of sexual abuse. In order for these services to work, they must take place by a long term view to cope with this crisis. Not only do some victims choose to deal with this issue alone, but they are also misguided by the taste of revenge. And they hold back the truth about their pastor sexually assaulting them. To help people heal from sexual abuse, mentors first need to acknowledge the damage that these victims are going through and approach the priest that did the crime. The Albany community church wants to conduct ‘confessions and penance’ (390) for priests who abuse their power for their pleasure, and for victims. Furthermore, as a Christian, it is in their heart to love one another no matter how big the sin is. The author emphasizes to forgive in order to heal (390). And what members of the church want to teach others.
One of the most effective programs is ‘reconciliation programs (VORPs) and family groups conferences’ (390). These services offer the victim to share the pain that they are going through. They also with consent with one another for the victim to meet the member of the clergy that abused them. That will give the person that has harmed the victim a chance to apologize and offer forgiveness. This healing program is purely by their choice. Meanwhile, some people think that these programs are a terrible idea because talking to their abuser can make things worse. But as a result, ‘significant evidence exists demonstrating that restorative processes can be healing and transformative for all involved’ (391). This program wants to help victims and predators to deal with what they are going through and not just ignore the issue.
To conclude, the community of Albany wants to simulate spiritually the bishops, pastors, and church ministers to introduce a place where healing can be learned. They want Christian mentors to join the workshops to help anybody that wants healing through these programs. This young generation needs help learning how to find peace within themselves. And the Albany community is willing to help the ‘broken’ (389) church of today through the ‘spirit of Christian love’ (391). Overall, I do agree with what the author is saying about dealing with pain through these Christian healing programs. I feel like they can bring peace to someone’s life.