Leaders in the Catholic Church and other Pentecostal denominations, like leaders in any organization, hate scandals. They wish that they never happen, and when they do, they try to deal with them internally to avoid bad publicity.
The problem is that they usually make a mess of it. Any attempt by the church to try to limit publicity is seen as a cover-up.
A better strategy would be to recognize that scandals represent bad news and good news. The bad news is that something bad happened; the good news is that the perpetrator got caught. Scandals should be seen as an opportunity for the church to show it can act responsibly in the face of a scandal because scandals are an inevitable part of human life.
And there have been lots of scandals within the Christian community lately. The worst, of course, is the sexual abuse of children by clerics, women molest by bishops/pastors, money laundering, corruption, and fraudulence. Some have even made fun of the priests fondling with young ones. Their ghastly and heinous acts of insensitivity disgust our spirits and we all abhor such practices.
This week a pedophile priest with HIV, who admitted to raping 30 young girls between the ages of five and ten years old, has been absolved by the Roman Catholic Church and will not face criminal charges.
Urgente 24 reported that a priest, Jose Ataulfo Garcia was acquitted of any crime by the Archdiocese Primada de México after confessing to having sexually abused dozens of girls in the indigenous community of Oaxaca, Mexico. The crime of abuse and rape of 30 girls between the ages of 5 and 10, admitted by the cleric himself, adds to the fact that Garcia is a carrier of HIV.
Neither the State of Mexico nor any organization defending the rights of children has spoken about this acquittal, probably due to the respect that the Catholic Church inspires in indigenous areas. And Pope Francis has already issued a statement, saying the act by the by the church in forgiving this sexual orgy is designed to make a “more merciful church.”
One of the victim’s mother wrote a letter to the Pope asking to speak to him, but she was shunned by the Vatican ant old “the matter is closed.”
Only two out of the thirty rape victims have stepped forward to decry the acquittal.
Back home in Zimbabwe, we have interminable cases where ‘insignificant’ church members have been subjected to unspeakable, ungodly and deplorable acts at the hands of church leaders. Children and women are molested, kids are denied their rights to go to schools, and young girls are forced into early marriages. Pastors are involved in corruption cases…and the church is doing nothing about it, except for the Gumbura case, of course.
By refusing to speak against it and covering it up the Church is sending a message that they care more about protecting a criminal/habitual offender in their midst rather than bringing justice on behalf of the victims. Sadly, what it does is create a soft environment for pedophiles to breed and rape more children, for sexual predators to molest on our beautiful daughters, mothers and sisters.
Child molesting criminal abuse has been devastating on children, and attempts by church leaders in the past to cover it up have made matters worse for the children and their families as well as the church.
A handful of those that are being prosecuted for such vices are either found innocent or are buying their way out: sometimes blame it on politics. Whatever the source of the government’s information, the accused is still innocent until proven guilty under people and church law.
But there will also be a trial in the court of public opinion, and so far, the Church is losing in that court, where the church is judged guilty until proven innocent.
What we are saying here is when accusations of abuse are raised, church leaders need to cooperate with law enforcement and follow the procedures that have been laid out by the church to deal with such accusations. Not only do church leaders have to do this, they have to be seen as doing it by the media and the public, not covering it up.