Child Poverty3
Church of England

Survivors of child abuse need more than just understanding

So, Justin Welby is back blogging again after half a year. It looks as though a meeting with a survivor of abuse has made a significant impact upon him. He writes:

It is well known that one of the issues we are facing across our society and, most shamefully, in the churches, is the abuse of children and vulnerable adults. I tend to see some of the worst examples of what we have done as a Church over the years. Every time it is as awful and appalling and shameful.

Abuse within the Church is worse than a festering sore that leaches out the foulest smelling puss. It has the power to destroy lives, and also faith and hope in those who are caught up in the consequences. How can the Church as an organisation be trusted with the role of being God’s witness if some of its members deliberately seek to harm others? Why would anyone want to approach God with open arms if their views of Him are influenced by the seemingly endless stories of Church leaders taking advantage of others who have put their trust in them?

A while back I was out on the streets of my local town with some friends from nearby churches offering to pray for people. During the course of the morning a man came up to me. He was genuinely angry: “You Christians are hypocrites and you disgust me,” he said. “All of your priests are paedophiles.”

I attempted to calm things down and offered to talk to him about his concerns, but he was having none of it. In his mind Christians and their clergy were low-life scum. If I’d tried to talk about the joys of knowing Jesus, he’d probably have hit me.

I never did get a chance to discover what had caused him to react in that way, but, whatever his personal experiences, he’s not the only one to see churches as hotbeds of abuse. Even though his views bore little resemblance to reality, having to agree with him that churches’ records have been far from clean on this matter was humiliatingly painful. Knowing that churches have turned a blind eye or failed to act when cases of abuse have come to light makes defending the Church as an institution near impossible.

I have a number of friends who have experienced abuse in their past and some of these have taken place within the church. Some have been able to deal with those experiences better than others, but all have been scarred and carry their wounds wherever they go. When you hear just a fraction of their stories, it’s impossible not to feel angry at the way others who have had authority over them treated them with contempt for the sake of their own perverted personal gratification.

The fact that so many of these friends have a Christian faith despite everything may appear to be a miracle in itself. There may still be questions about how God allowed such things to happen, but far more powerful than these is a healing that comes through God’s Spirit that gives them the strength to keep going and be released from the bondage of their past.

God is good, but churches have plenty more to do to prove that this is the case as far as these matters go. Justin Welby reveals through his post that there are still incidents in church communities where victims are not taken seriously and even accused of being the ones to blame. This is a heinous disgrace that actively needs addressing. It is, though, not one faced exclusively by churches:

As a society we have to get to the point where we realise that abuse is above all an issue of power, the perversion of power not to do good but to do grievous harm, and to meet some terrible need within the abuser. It is never the fault of the person abused, the survivor. They will bear the damage; theirs will be often a sense of guilt which they have to work through with counselling and psychological support for years, sometimes for the rest of their lives. It affects them in all sorts of ways too terrible to describe.

Justin Welby is right. At least for the majority of my friends who have experienced abuse, they have family, friends and their churches to act as a support network. When those sources of security are not even available, what hope is there?

That is why the cases of abuse in Rotherham reported over the summer, have been so utterly shocking.

These girls (and some boys) have been let down by the system to a point beyond belief. They have been ridiculed and ignored when they have been brave enough to go to the police. Social services, the police, the council and the care homes that many of them have lived in have spectacularly failed them. Those whose jobs it was to protect them have suppressed the evidence to cover their own backs and allowed the abusers to carry on their exploitation with impunity. Even when the scale of abuse came to light, too many have refused to take responsibility and have put more energy into covering their own backs.

These children are the most vulnerable members of our society. They are in care because they have parents who have been incapable of giving them an upbringing any child deserves. They come from broken backgrounds where family breakdown, addictions and violence are all too common. They are placed in homes affectionately known as “dumping grounds” by Tracy Beaker. When they reach 18, they will be expected to fend for themselves in the big bad world. It’s little wonder that a third of them leave school with no GCSEs. A third of homeless people have been in care, as has 40 per cent of the prison population aged under 21. And a quarter of girls will leave care either pregnant or already mothers.

What has been demonstrated in Rotherham is that adults had no love for them; they were of no value. They were the dregs who weren’t worth protecting. If they were abused, that was their problem.

If you want to know how just our society is, look no further than how we treat our children, especially those who are the most helpless and exposed and have had their lives disfigured by the selfish inhumanity of some adults.

Justin Welby finishes his blog by saying:

I long for the day when not only in the institutions of the Church, but also among every Christian, we show that we understand that those who have things done to them are never the ones to be blamed.

For once, though, I don’t think he goes far enough. Understanding is a start, but if the Church wants to demonstrate God’s love, not only does it need to make sure that abuse is never allowed to happen within its walls, but that it seeks to nurture and care for those who have been abused and exploited, and works to give them hope when so many others have looked the other way.

Jesus calls us to be good Samaritans, tending to those lying on the road, battered and in pain.

He wasn’t joking.

  • educynic

    I suffered sexual abuse in a number of ways as a child. All of it homosexual, some with local older children, some with older men, some by teachers at school and once with a stranger who approached me. There was no overtly sexual abuse from my parents but there was physical abuse from my father that had a sexually sadistic component.

    I think these experiences did indeed damage me. They have undoubtedly affected my sexuality in ways that I would prefer not to have happened. In particular some of the abuse was sexually gratifying and broke down inhibitions in the way I apply my sexuality that I wish had remained in place.

    But, when I became a Christian in my twenties, I realise I had to forgive my father and, indeed, others who had wronged me. Though I shall undoubtedly bear the ‘scars of the abuse’ for my whole life, are they not all parts of the fallen world that are inevitable. And these scars, are they not trivial compared with things others have to bear? My daughter was weeping about something on one occasion and her grandmothe remonstrated ‘For goodness sake, child, stop snivelling. There are children being sold for a sack of corn!’

    The Rotherham scandal is a different order of abuse from what any of us have suffered in places like schools and churches. Unsurprisingly, because it is a failing of multiculturalism and political correctness it will receive less attention.

    But, even there, while society should not swerve from its role in providing justice, is it not better for those affected to know the freedom of forgiveness and relinquish the burden of resentment? Have I not been blessed by knowing the gospel and knowing that God has forgiven my sins as I have forgiven those who have sinned against me?

    • dannybhoy

      Forgiveness is an essential step in allowing healing into our own lives by the grace of the Holy Spirit. My wife worked with sexually abused children in care and she still remembers some of the awful circumstances some children grew up in.
      We human beings are capable of very great evils, and Church leaders need to use their positions of authority and influence to stand up against evil in our society wherever it may be found.
      If we look back to some of the great social reforms in British society, they were brought about by the passion and conviction of Christians who stood up against the practices prevalent at the time. Those evil times are returning as Christian influence in society is waning.
      We need Revival whatever the cost.

      • CliveM

        Yes we do, but it isn’t the sole answer. We need child care properly funded as well.

        • dannybhoy

          Clive,
          yes and no.
          I was a ’50s kid born just after ww2.
          Yes there probably was abuse going on, but mums were at home. Even mums like mine whose husbands were on low incomes.
          But there was plenty of Christian influence all around us, we had a policeman living at the end of our street, many of our teachers were true Christians and there was a far greater sense of community cohesion.
          You cannot pass laws to make people better people. Only a radical change of heart and direction can change the individual and eventually society.
          The big problem we face today is that we have a society led by people who enjoy the freedoms and privileges bought for them by dedicated and passionate Christians who brought about social change and reform. But as we have grown more sophisticated we have cast aside the simple faith of our forefathers, and now our notions of freedom and equality have no real foundation any more.
          So we keep on passing laws and gradually the true freedom that Christianity gives is eroded and we become prisoners of the law.

        • Phil Rowlands

          Child Care is a (just another) tax on families

    • IanCad

      A wonderful testimony. In fact one of the most sober and sensible accounts that I have read.
      Truly, the power of the gospel can conquer the most dreadful abuses.
      Thanks for sharing.

  • DrCrackles

    The children of Rotherham and elsewhere are our problem and we English are responsible for what has happened to them. That our enemies have taken an opportunity to show their contempt and hatred for us by exploiting, maiming and murdering our own children is a separate matter and in no way removes the judgment against us.

    “And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink.”

    From Joel 3

  • Martin

    Of course this is the Justin Welby who has failed to speak out strongly on the matter of fake marriage, who leads a church where some proclaim perversion is a good thing and where the gospel is more notable by its absence than by its proclamation.

    And this in a hierarchical organisation with a claim to follow the Bible.

    The real problem, the cause of abuse and other evils, is mankind’s rejection of God, their choice of wickedness instead of righteousness. So we see the fulfilment of Romans 1:18-32, the judgement of God on a nation where He is not honoured and where evil is called good and good evil.

    There is only one solution in the long term, the preaching of the gospel and the resulting changing of hearts and minds. Not a solution that Welby seems to have in mind.

    • Hi Martin,

      Yet again you want to bring the issues of the world to being solely about one particular issue. Which is your choice. But, could you at least be honest here and acknowledge that the ABC DID speak out and vote against same sex marriage? I appreciate that you opposed ssm, but do you have to misrepresent the archbishop so much?

      • Busy Mum

        What Welby did and what he really wanted to do may well be two different things. The value of his vote will only become apparent over the coming months and years.

        • Hi Busy Mum,

          I don’t think we can second guess someone like that. Furthermore what Martin says about Archbishop Welby is at odds with what he did at the time and with what he continues to say. I’m simply suggesting that if you wish to disagree with anyone, you should at least have the courtesy to actually acknowledge what that person did and said, not what you wanted him to say or what you think he’ll say in the future, for the purposes of a strawman attack on the Anglican religion. That is all I was trying to point out to Martin.

          • Busy Mum

            Hannah, everything Welby has said and done since the SSM vote has been contrary to his ‘no’ vote. Similar situation to the Scots ref – vote yes to keep the union followed by action to further weaken it….

      • Martin

        Hannah

        The issues of the world is only about one issue, the gospel and man’s rebellion. All else arises from it.

        Welby should have been outspoken, condemning both the politicians who voted for fake marriage and those within his church who support the measure. Instead we get wimpish utterances from the man that offend no one.

        Come to that, I’ve yet to hear Welby enunciate the gospel at all.

        • AndyM

          Martin
          Clearly you don’t think much of Justin Welby’s preaching – will you tell us where and when you yourself are preaching over (say) the next month so we can all come and see how it’s done properly?

          • Martin

            Andy

            I don’t preach, I’d be a fool to try because if you can do anything else you shouldn’t preach.

          • CliveM

            St Paul preached. Was incapable of doing anything else?

          • Martin

            Clive

            Seems so:

            For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! (I Corinthians 9:16 [ESV])

          • Martin

            Clive

            Let his own words speak:

            For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! (I Corinthians 9:16 [ESV])

            And that is the attitude that all preaching requires.

          • Martin

            Strange this is the 3rd time I’ve replied.

            Paul clearly felt a compulsion to preach:

            For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! (I Corinthians 9:16 [ESV])

            If that is not how you feel, you shouldn’t be preaching.

          • Martin

            Strange this is the 4th time I’ve replied. it disappears

            Paul clearly felt a compulsion to preach:

            For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! (I Corinthians 9:16 [ESV])

            If that is not how you feel, you shouldn’t be preaching.

          • Martin

            Strange this is the 5th time I’ve replied. it disappears

            Paul clearly felt a compulsion to preach:

            For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! (I Corinthians 9:16 [ESV])

            If that is not how you feel, you shouldn’t be preaching.

          • CliveM

            I have got these 5 times in my in box !

            Not sure it answers my point but maybe I mis understood your original post

          • Martin

            Clive

            OK, so it was going somewhere! Sorry about your inbox. But in what way did I not answer?

        • CliveM

          You are wrong Martin. The ABC is a man of faith. I have no doubt as to his belief in a risen God. I say this not to change your mind, as it is closed and obsessive and not open to truth in this matter, but because I don’t think your slanders should go in challenged.

          • Martin

            Clive

            John the Baptist told Herod he was wrong to take his brother’s wife. Do we see Welby telling Cameron he is wrong?

          • CliveM

            I don’t know what he has told him, I am not party to their coversations, are you?

            Why don’t you pop over to Nos 10 for a chat?

    • CliveM

      You know even when the Church preached as socially and sexually fundamentalist message as you propose, child abuse flourished. Yes preach the gospel, but without other action abuse will continue.

      • Martin

        Clive

        That isn’t the gospel. The gospel is that we are all wicked sinners under the condemnation of God’s wrath. God commands us to repent and turn to Him and He will heal us. Yet we see a nation, or rather a world intent on other things.

  • CliveM

    As a country we have let down our Children time and again. We have allowed the to be abused sexually, physical and emotionally. We take the from dis functional homes and “dump” them in care. We then kick the out abandoned and friendless. As a society we don’t do enough. I read today that in the Lancashire Constabulary alone over 700 computers were confiscated in 2013 for suspected child abuse images. There was only 3 specialists to check them. We don’t fund child care, in its broadest definition anything like adequately.
    And the institutional church has failed. It has turned a blind eye to abuse in its midst. It hasn’t spoken out enough about the serious underfunding of child care. It is paying a price for this. How many of us will have heard sniggers and knowing winks about that poor Vicar who was stabbed to death a couple if years back ? We have lost credibility on this issue and it also means that people are not listening when we speak out on other issues. As the blog says, how many times have we seen or heard that the church should shut up as it is full of paedophiles?
    The author is right as a community we haven’t done anything like enough.

    • Busy Mum

      Funding childcare in its broadest definition means: stop interfering with family life, stop forcing mothers out to work/appealing to their false sense of unfulfillment in the home, restore the tax allowance for man/woman marriage, stop giving children their breakfast at school, stop giving children their tea at school, stop talking about tax-payer-funded sleepovers at school and leave parents – both of them – to do the job they and they alone are best placed to do.

      • CliveM

        None of which will help those in care or children like baby P.

        Most abuse happens within the family, so again I don’t see what you propose addresses this issue.

        • Busy Mum

          ‘within the family’ – so many of these so-called families are not families at all – parents not married, a plethora of step and half relatives – the government considers any group of individuals living together to be a family, however short-term that living arrangement may be. And all because people have been betrayed into thinking that their right to a ‘fulfilling sexual life’ overrides any responsibility. 21st century do-gooders love running down the old morality, saying how miserable everybody was due to the sense of shame and the stigma associated with being unmarried and ‘having a child out of wedlock’. Well, we have just replaced one lot of miserable people with another lot – and it’s much worse now as it’s the children who are paying the whole price.

          • CliveM

            Child abuse has been endemic for a lot longer then the post war period of sexual permissiveness. It’s why the Victorians introduced a minimum age of consent. And anyway none of which gives any support to your assertion that banning school breakfasts will help.

          • Busy Mum

            My point is that breakfast (and a lot else) is the parents’ responsibility, not the schools’. This distinction has been totally blurred and now, parents like us who wish to retain total responsibility for our children (in that we are accountable to God for this matter) are treated as odd by other parents and with suspicion and dislike by the state.

          • CliveM

            My wife only works p/t and we don’t use breakfast clubs . No one has criticised us. I personally don’t understand why parents seem so keen to dump their children onto institutions. However I don’t think this is relevant to the issues of the post.

          • Busy Mum

            But dumping children onto institutions is exactly what ‘investment in childcare’ consists of. It’s a bit chicken and egg; parents are willing to dump their children because the institutions are there and the government seems only too willing to provide the institutions in the first place. I agree that child abuse is not a new thing but children being looked after by the state is never going to be the solution; it can surely only increase the possibility of it happening.

          • Hi Busy Mum,

            The counter to this would be something like :

            Not everyone can afford to live an Evangelical Christian upper middle class white collar lifestyle in suburbia, where dad earns £50k a year and mum stays at home with the kids and home schools them. That’s a fantasy world.

          • Busy Mum

            We earn nothing like this money and my husband is certainly not white collar. I temporarily home-schooled one of my children. That child has returned to (a fresh) school on my terms rather than the school’s. I make huge material sacrifices so that I can be the number one person in my children’s lives as a matter of principle.
            I don’t think abuse is the preserve of the materially poor – a lot of it seems to take place where money is adequate but misspent – rather it is the preserve of the morally destitute.

          • DrCrackles

            Well said. It is a slur to state that family values are the preserve of the well-off and by implication unattainable for poor folk.

            It seems the well-to-do are more inclined to throw off the inhibitions of narrow family existence. The poor desperately need these to avoid the abyss.

          • CliveM

            I don’t think that is what Hannah said. She was simply highlighting the issue that for some two incomes are needed.
            It’s a difficult problem and I do think the govt should support stay at home mothers more. However it is also a slur to suggest that parents who use these clubs are child abusers, particularly as their is little evidence to indicate that their are higher rates of abuse amongst these parents.

          • Busy Mum

            I did not suggest that the parents using the clubs are child abusers. They are certainly wilfully relieving themselves of some of their reponsibility and the government is only too happy to take it from them. A weakened family tie is a grand opportunity for a would-be tyrant.

          • Hi Clive,

            Basically that is what I was saying. I own a house with 5 other people , bought a while back and I’m certainly ( stereotype alert) “prudent” with money & had help from inheritances. I don’t live an extravagant lifestyle, but even I find I struggle and that is without a family to feed. Of my brothers and sisters who are married and have much larger families than society does generally, their other half works as well, to provide. And they are traditional /or orthodox Jews (although there is a tradition of women working in Judaism, even ultra orthodox Jewish women will work and raise a family).

          • CliveM

            Indeed.

            Their is also the issue of single parents, not always feckless sexual adventurers as sometimes implied. And for those who are condemned to live there, London house prices. Poor souls!!!! 🙂

          • Hi Clive,

            Much to my housemates disgust (along with the pitifully awfully done Birmingham accents in the crime drama set in that city, that we watched last night), a lot of people on benefits in London are being shipped up to places like Birmingham, because the local authorities can’t pay the rental to private landlords in London. Which is just shifting problems from one city to the next.

          • CliveM

            I have heard that brummie is the hardest accent to mimic!

          • Busy Mum

            Thankyou Doctor – The poor have been betrayed. The liberal elite have led the poor astray by appealing to their baser instincts so that they can gratify their own. The new aristocracy is guilty of the most heinous abuse of their responsibilities, not least because the betrayal has been conducted under the guise of compassion, tolerance and equality, when in fact certain politicians one could name do not care one iota for the poor, either body or soul.

          • In actuality, I never said that morality or family values were the preserve of a wealthy elite. In fact, my maternal family came to Britain from a middle eastern third world country in the early 1950s & my paternal family originally, but 100 years earlier, came from poor Ireland. Both sides of my family, who were folksy and small c conservative, worked their asses off to become better off. Weber would be pleased to see his protestant work ethic, being applied by Jews, who do still have family values.

          • alternative_perspective

            I lived, socialised and worked in such areas and I can personally attest to the destruction wrought on entire communities through worklessness, sexual promiscuity and the decay of marital fidelity.

          • Hannah Out Loud – for the past 10 years of my life I have been doing outreach work with families living in some of the most deprived parishes of the UK (according the CUF deprivation indices) – not from an ivory tower but by living and walking and working amongst them, visiting their homes, working in their schools, walking their streets. A very significant minority (if not the majority) of the homes I saw had a parent at home all day yet they still dumped their children into whatever institution was available. They called signing on day, “Pay day”. They hate school holidays because they are forced to care, feed & entertain their own children. Their sense of entitlement is breath-taking (I won’t bore you with the story of my neighbour who just last week was attempting to break down the front gate of my house because he believed it was his RIGHT to keep his horse on my garden because he doesn’t have one!!! Or the parent who used the money saved from a kindly donated food hamper to get herself another tattoo). Very few are married. Very few were in a relationship longer than a few years at a time.

            In some senses getting their children into institutional care is a blessing as many of them are staffed or run by caring & compassionate Christians. But this is not God’s plan or design and as the state steps in and becomes the surrogate parent we are are only going to see more & more cases of abuse. The destruction of the family (defined by biological kinship, not convenience) is a deliberate & intentional policy with a devilish spiritual root. The church should be offering an antidote but is too frequently keen to be seen “ministering to the poor” by simply supporting government institutions & free hand-outs rather than offering the tough love that so many of the families I worked with were in desperate need of.

          • Hi rebel,

            Sounds like an episode of the Jeremy Kyle show….

          • I’d say that pretty much sums up a depressingly large proportion of many of these kids unfortunate lives.

          • alternative_perspective

            I’ve seen this too. One cannot avoid it if that happens to be the kind of area you or your friends came from.
            I tend to find its the middle classes and the left who seem to idolise poverty and call these people vulnerable. They blame circumstance and imply that such cases are the minority. Well they may be the minority but it a blxxdy big one.

            At the end of the day it comes down to our vision of original sin, however we understand it.

            If your starting place is that all people are essentially good you end up living with blinkers of rationalising truth away. When I first came to Christ this was my default position and I wrestled with the Bible and church teaching. However as I gradually opened my eyes and allowed myself to judge reality for what I saw rather than what I hoped then I came to conclusion that whatever goodness was there at the start it has been thoroughly corrupted.

            I was confirmed in this opinion when I saw a good friend’s (clergy couple) daughter, not even two years old, lie to her parent’s face.

            This is the brute fact of our human existence and we will always fail to treat the condition rather than the symptoms unless we grasp this nettle.

          • dannybhoy

            When we worked with children from abusive backgrounds we saw the same thing. Parents or carers (some if whom would have been involved in the abuse) knew all about their entitlements from our benefit culture.
            I think the taxpayer funded welfare state has done a great deal of damage to our society in that it takes away true parental responsibility, allows us to create children and abandon our responsibilities to them. It allows us to cast our elderly relatives aside into impersonal, understaffed and sometimes uncaring homes and abandon them too.
            The welfare state does have some good aspects but an awful lot of bad ones.

          • Marie1797

            A lot of these families that are glad to dump their children into care are uneducated, irresponsible and unable to look after themselves let alone take proper responsibility and care for children.

          • Hi busy mum,

            I wasn’t referring to your circumstances, as I don’t like making things personal. I was referring to the economic difficulties of what you’re proposing.

            To rent or buy a house usually requires both parties to earn or if only one person is earning they usually want them to be on a substantial income. I’m referring here to people who are starting out as a couple for the first time, let alone when this theoretical couple have children and therefore look for a larger house.

            As for religion I’m fully well aware that it extends beyond class boundaries. However what you are harking back to, is often what one hears from socially conservative and is generally a middle-class ethos. I made no comment on whether this was right or wrong.

          • DrCrackles

            Hannah, are you qualified to represent the small people?

          • Hi crackers,

            I speak for myself.

          • Phil Rowlands

            When we stereotype successful affluent families with well behaved children they are always Evangelical Christian.

            Why? and…

            Is there a message here?

            What is it about Evangelical Christian behaviour that tends to lead to success, at least as the world measures it?

          • Phil Rowlands

            “I don’t think this is relevant to the issues of the post”

            Think a bit harder then Clive

    • Martin

      Clive

      You need to bear in mind that the vast majority of those computer confiscations were following viewing over the internet. They were not the perpetrators of the abuse, just the easy target. The police seem to be concentrating on the easy target and ignoring the more difficult, as was seen in Rotherham.

      • CliveM

        Maybe not the perpetrators, but they are creating the demand so complicit to the abuse. I am not able to judge your comments regards the police. However the main point I was making is how large the problem is, how little it is funded. Which is maybe part of why the Police go after the easy targets. If they do.

        • Martin

          Clive

          There is little demand where there is no product. Was there a demand for an iPhone before Apple made them? There is little attempt to actually address the problem.

          • CliveM

            Well as the ‘product’ is children, I fail to see what we can do about removing that issue.

      • CliveM

        One other thing a lot of the abuse takes place abroad. I had heard recently that you can now order live abuse on line with some sub-humans in the Far East.

        Like all institutions the Police aren’t perfect, but I am sure most try to do the right thing.

  • DocRichard

    Good sentiments need to be validated in action. Melanie Shaw was abused sexually in Nottingham children’s homes, but has been imprisoned in very dubious circumstances. Read about her case here vipcsa.wikidot.com/melanie-shaw, and write to your MP.

  • DrCrackles

    I maintain that the CofE lax interpretation of human sexuality is directly responsible for this kind of activity:

    http://www.luton-dunstable.co.uk/Luton-vicar-James-Ogley-jailed-years-encouraging/story-23025272-detail/story.html

    and from a while ago

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/nottinghamshire/2953959.stm

    Once sexuality is removed from one man and one woman covenanted until death before the Almighty then all hell breaks loose. This blinds us from seeing the reality of the problem facing us as we confront our Muslim enemies.

    • CliveM

      So child abuse is the CofE’s fault? What a stupid thing to say.

      • DrCrackles

        No, the CofE is directly responsible for the examples given. (I’ve reworded the statement above)

        However, the CofE is partly responsible for the nation’s moral decline in failing to give a clear lead based on orthodox Christian teaching.

        • magnolia

          Agree. Most churches feebly abandoned any “sex is great and wonderfu but it needs strong boundaries and fidelity in marriage” teaching decades ago. I remember the warning at University my generation were given that “the god of sex can very easily become a demon”. How wise on an individual level and how prescient was that on a national level. Plenty of demons and de-personalised sensation grabbing, now, I fear. Tenderness has become a rare flower, though still celebrated in the marriage service!

        • alternative_perspective

          Sad but so very true.
          The Bishops of the CoE have a lot to answer for.

  • len

    Once trust has been broken it will take years to restore and in some cases never.The cover up of pedophile priests has delayed any sort of trust in the church for years or perhaps destroyed it completely.Pedophile priests need to be rooted out and prosecuted and to never return to the priesthood or any position of trust.Forgiveness is a Christian virtue but never to condone the crimes committed in the House of God or elsewhere.

    • CliveM

      I agree. With the minor quibble that all Churches have struggled with this, not only ones with Priests.

      • DrCrackles

        Churches with rigid hierarchies will suffer more than those without.

        • CliveM

          Being a large institutional body doesn’t help. It also means you get more publicity. None of the Church based issues that I am personally aware of (as opposed to through the media) are linked either to the RCC or the CofE however.

          • DrCrackles

            The abuse is compounded by the needs of the institution to protect itself, which appears to have greatly aggravated the abuse in the Catholic church.

            The CofE has its own form on this however:

            http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7529542.stm

          • CliveM

            Yes I agree with that.

  • three6t

    The other thing that needs to change is that when incidents of abuse do occur (the idea that it can be eradicated from the church is naive to say the least)…the perpetrators are handed over to the authorities with the full cooperation of the church. One of the things that has damaged the trust of the public has been the disgraceful hiding of abusers when they were discovered by their fellow church members. That wasn’t forgiveness, it was simple covering up.

    • dannybhoy

      I agree. New Testament Christianity teaches the eternal forgiveness of sins, not the avoidance of temporal consequences…

  • ess

    He’s in Ireland right now, aint he? Mmmm.

  • magnolia

    Massively important topic.

    You and the ABC all credit for airing it.

    Recently seen “The Paedophile Hunter” on C4. Underlines how under-investigated, under-resourced and under-sentenced the whole area is.

    It is rife because, like ground elder when it takes over, quite simply the soil, the water, the sun, and the location were conducive to it. As a society we must analyse that, uproot it and burn all its roots.

  • The Inspector General

    The Inspector suspects the corrupting of peoples souls that results in the nonsensical abuse of our young is foremost the result of the muck that is laughingly pushed out as entertainment on our television screens. Foul material like BBC’s Eastenders. As for much of contemporary America’s film industry’s output, it is quite unwatchable. Perhaps every such program should have a short announcement made before broadcast, to the effect that each TV set is equipped with an off button, and that viewers would be well advised to use it on this occasion.

    Secondly, where would we be if discussing child abuse, we cannot make mention of the homosexuality that is rampaging through society. The battling flagship of moral decay and wanton behaviour. In the same manner that liberals call for dangerous illegal drugs to be decriminalised, the very same is demanded, yes demanded no less, that this degeneration is made mainstream. And that the suffers of the condition are lauded, and celebrated, and indeed,offered a line of cocaine to snort from the top of some urinal if they so desire. Because they are great people, apparently, and we should all look up to them, excellent models of humanity that they be. We might even learn from them, so they tell us. The truth is rather more prosaic. You cannot be an active homosexual and be with God. It cannot be achieved. Why God has inflicted the burden of the people of Sodom upon our unfortunates, or allowed it to be, is not known. Suffice to say it exists, and is a load not much different from other loads others must bear in our earthly lives.

    One would rather hear sermons on these two topics in church than the usual fare knocked out by priests like Paul’s letter to the Ephesians…

    • Martin

      IG

      Actually Romans 1:18-32 tells us why. Our society has abandoned God so God has abandoned our society to its own lusts.

      • The Inspector General

        One suspects Martin, that ‘abandoning’ so that the human race can totter around on its two legs all by itself was all part of the divine plan and was to happen anyway…

  • magnolia

    Too many of the protesters and whistleblowers on this topic have been themselves threatened, abused, endangered, disbelieved, disempowered, fined, mocked, and even in the case of Robert Green and Holly Grieg, locked up.

    After all while we as a society lauded some of the now dead or imprisoned felons- Savile, Smith, Boothby, and so on Geoffrey Dickens was ritually mocked, just because what he was saying was something the country would rather not hear, and because he was a trifle Falstaffian in appearance, but he risked his life to save first the drowning folk he saved, and then the children. Perhaps they should knock down that iffy statue of Prospero and Ariel outside the BBC and put one of Geoffrey Dickens up instead to show that they will now care to protect the nation’s young from malign paederasts.

  • The sexual abuse of young women, the silencing of victims and the protection of perpetrators is not new.

    “And it came to pass after this that Ammon the son of David loved the sister of Absalom the son of David, who was very beautiful, and her name was Thamar.”

    Thamar’s story is shocking and rarely told.

    Ammon, having staged an illness to be alone with his sister, raped her. The bible tells us:

    “Do not so, my brother, do not force me: for no such thing must be done in Israel. Do not thou this folly. For I shall not be able to bear my shame, and thou shalt be as one of the fools in Israel ….. But he would not hearken to her prayers, but being stronger overpowered her and lay with her.”

    And afterwards she describes her treatment as worse than the rape:

    “Then Ammon hated her with an exceeding great hatred: so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her before. And Ammon said to her: Arise, and get thee gone ….. She answered him: The evil which now thou dost against me, in driving me away, is greater than that which thou didst before.”

    And her father and brother treated her no better:

    “And Absalom her brother said to her: Hath thy brother Ammon lain with thee? but now, sister, hold thy peace, he is thy brother: and afflict not thy heart for this thing.
    So Thamar remained pining away in the house of Absalom her brother …..
    And when king David heard of these things he was exceedingly grieved: and he would not afflict the spirit of his son Ammon, for he loved him, because he was his firstborn.”

    We hear no more of Thamar.

    However, “Absalom hated Ammon because he had ravished his sister Thamar ….” and so he lured him to his house and “commanded his servants, saying: Take notice when Ammon shall be drunk with wine, and when I shall say to you: Strike him, and kill him, fear not: for it is I that command you: take courage, and be valiant men.”

    • len

      The Bible pulls no punches it tells the truth the whole truth all the bad stuff as well as the good nothing covered up .We should perhaps do the same in the church?.

      • Absolutely, Len. On that we are agreed.

    • dannybhoy

      Not quite on the same level as abusing children though Jack. Educynic is talking about the real real abuse he experienced by more than one person.

      Some say that sexual abuse is as much about power as it is sex, and it flourishes as much in tight knit communities as it does in our modern fractured society.
      The terrible thing is that it is actually on the increase. In fact in some ways it seems to me that with the re-emergence of slavery and people trafficking, we are seeing a return to the behaviours of the Roman Empire.

      • Dannybuoy, Jack doesn’t disagree. However, the passages in scripture about the impact on Thamar that moved Jack were these:

        “The evil which now thou dost against me, in driving me away, is greater than that which thou didst before ….”
        “So Thamar remained pining away in the house of Absalom her brother ….. “

        Jack has known survivors of abuse and what compounds their wounds is the reaction of others to the abuse they suffered.

        Thamar’s story – the hate she encountered from her abuser, the putting of the perpetrator’s needs first to avoid embarrassment, the misplaced loyalty and neglect from those who were charged with her wellbeing – carries a timeless lesson.

  • Martin

    Clive

    I’ve tried to reply 5 times, each time it disappears:

    Paul clearly felt a compulsion to preach:

    For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! (I Corinthians 9:16 [ESV])

    If that is not how you feel, you shouldn’t be preaching.

  • CliveM

    Recently got this from someone at Church. I trust the person, but hope they are a victim of a sick hoax. Sadly however it does ring true. This goes beyond abuse.

    “To everyone who has an ounce of prayer in them – please read on, and pray. I have removed all names and places that might lead to problems for those involved if this got in the wrong hands, but the essence of it all is still there. Please pray – it’s the least we can do.
    A friend just got a text message from her brother asking her to shower him and his parish in prayer. He is part of a mission and ISIS has taken over the town they are in today. He said ISIS is systematically going house to house to all the Xtians and asking the children to denounce J. He said so far not one child has. And so far all have consequently been killed. But not the parents. The UN has withdrawn and the missionaries are on their own. They are determined to stick it out for the sake of the families – even if it means their own deaths. He is very afraid, has no idea how to even begin ministering to these families who have seen their children martyred. Yet he says he knows G.d has called him for some reason to be his voice and hands at this place at this time. He is begging prayers for his courage to live out his vocation in such dire circumstances. And like the children accept martyrdom if he is called to do so. She asked me to ask everyone we know to please pray for them. These brave parents instilled such a fervent faith in their children that they chose martyrdom. Please surround them in their loss with your prayers for hope and perseverance.
    She was able to talk to her brother briefly by phone. She didn’t say it but I believe she believes it will be their last conversation. Pray for her too. She said he just kept asking her to help him know what to do and do it. She told him to tell the families we ARE praying for them and they are not alone or forgotten — no matter what. Her e mail broke my heart. Please keep all in your prayers.
    Please pray sincerely for the deliverance of the people of Northern Iraq from the terrible advancement of ISIS and its extreme Islamic goals for mass conversion or death for Xtians across this region. May I plead with you not to ignore this email.
    Do not forward it before you have prayed through it. Then send it to as many people as possible. We need to stand in the gap for our fellow Xtians.”

    • dannybhoy

      “We need to stand in the gap for our fellow Xtians.”
      Amen.
      If not us then who? If we remain silent then who will speak for them?

      • CliveM

        Indeed well put.

  • “And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
    And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

    Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”

    So much moral and physical evil in the world and yet Jesus didn’t explain the cause or why certain people face particular trials. As Christians we are called to face tribulations and do what we can, by the grace of God, to overcome our own and those experienced by others so that the works of God will be made manifest.

    May God help and comfort all victims of evil.