For the first time ever, victims of sexual abuse perpetrated by Catholic priest were invited to the Vatican to meet with the pope. In addition to asking for forgiveness directly for the “sins and grave crimes of clerical sexual abuse committed against you,” Pope Francis also acknowledged that the church leadership structure, which has been widely criticized for how they handled abuse cases, was also in the wrong. “I beg your forgiveness, too, for the sins of omission on the part of church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse made.” Though some have praised Pope Francis’ willingness to meet with victims, the outreach director of the Survivor Network of those Abused by Priest (SNAP), told The Daily Beast that if the Vatican does not punish the abusive priests and do more to prevent abuse (along with their list of demands), than they aren’t going far enough. “If it’s not preventing abuse, it’s probably meaningless or almost meaningless" ... Discuss
Lifeway Research has put together a sobering look at how often America's pastors address domestic abuse from the pulpit. While the research found that most Protestant pastors say they know victims of domestic abuse, they very rarely discuss it in sermons. When asked how often they preach on domestic violence, 42 percent of pastors answered "rarely/never" while less than a quarter speak about it once a year. When asked if they considered domestic violence to be a problem in their community, 72 percent answered "yes" and a full quarter said they believed it was a problem in their church.
Perhaps just as troubling is how ill-equipped pastors feel to address domestic violence. Slightly over half of senior pastors don't have training to address physical or sexual abuse, but 62 percent of pastors have attempted to counsel couples experiencing domestic abuse—a practice experts say can actually lead to more violence. Ed Stetzer, President of Lifeway Research Division, said"When two-thirds of pastors address the issue of domestic violence in church one time a year or less, we have a serious disconnect with the realities of American life. Pastors cannot ignore or downplay the issue, when lives are being ruined—and sometimes lost—through sexual and domestic violence right in their own communities and churches" ... Discuss