Catholic Sex Abuse: a report, a letter and a truer word

Last week a report was published bringing to light seventy years of sexual abuse in Pennsylvania – abuse committed and covered up by the Catholic Church.

On Monday, the Pope wrote a letter to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics to condemn, grieve and repent for the abuses.

It received a mixed reaction.

Many critics pointed out that words are just words. It’s action that really counts. What’s the Vatican going to do about it?

Words

The letter is a step in the right direction. But it’ll do little to mend the broken lives of over a thousand Pennsylvanian victims.

Speak to any victim and they’ll say the same thing.

They’ll say it never leaves you. It feels like it was your fault.* And how much more so when your abuser is a priest?

“It’s your word against God’s,” cries one victim.

This is a lie the victims have been fed. But praise God, it’s exactly that.

A lie.

Action

God’s word actually reveals the true God who hates abuse (Nahum 3:1). He’s promised to bring all evil to light in his courtroom of eternal judgment (Luke 8:17).

Words are just words. But unlike our institutions, God always acts in line with his words (Psalm 33:4).

By Jesus’ brutal death on the cross, God showed the world the punishment for the God-hating, person-destroying evil of abuse (Romans 8:3).

And it’s this action that can bring healing for victims.

Because it displays God’s hatred of their abuse, and of his love for them (Romans 5:8) – love which reverses the self-condemning lies abuse victims battle against.

A Truer Word

Yes, it’s important the Vatican doesn’t just use words. But what God in heaven says, he proves by his action. By the cross, his word is fulfilled:

The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. Psalm 103:6

* If you are someone who has been sexually abused, we highly recommend working through Justin and Lindsey Holcomb’s book, Rid Of My Disgrace, with a trusted Christian friend.