On late night TV and the comedy circuit, the Catholic Church is all but synonymous with child abuse. That characterization, once the purview of only “edgy” comics, is fast encroaching on the national consciousness.
But who’s to blame for this horrific narrative of trusted priests molesting small children? Well, the perpetrators themselves, of course, but, thanks to the poor handling of the public relations crisis associated with these revelations, the entire church is taking a beating in hearts and minds of even the most devout and faithful.
A recent news story out of Pennsylvania does nothing to improve this situation. Three Franciscan friars have been charged with allowing a suspected sexual predator to hold jobs in which he allegedly molested more than 100 children. The friars surrendered to police and bonded out of jail pending a hearing on April 14. That means the church now has three weeks to deal with a constant media and social media onslaught of both new and old allegations for preying on children.
Even attorneys for the victims are calling for more widespread blame to be assigned. They are publicly calling for states to charge supervisors of convicted molesters.
Some, even those absolutely revolted by the actions of the molester, wonder why his supervisors should be charged at all. The reasoning, as reported by the Associated Press, is the abuser was allowed to continue working with children for years even after allegations of abuse were reported. This went on for three years until the friars were told the abuser should no longer have any contact with children. They continued to employ him, though in different capacities. He still worked at the school and still had access to children.
This sort of ridiculous thinking and dangerous allowances are at the heart of the lawsuit as well as the growing rage at the Church et al. People don’t want to hear excuses, and they certainly don’t want to hear why an alleged molester was still allowed to be around kids for years after professionals told his superiors to keep him away from kids.
Disgust and rage are the universal responses to the idea that a predator of this kind is allowed to continue to prey on children. There is no excuse, and the church just makes the PR crisis worse by dissembling and continuing to make the same mistake.