Sunday, October 9, 2011

A bit of Purgatory for a Good Cause

Yesterday I dedicated two hours to the "Ethics and Integrity" training that the diocese requires for anybody in just about any ministry. Well, I think if your ministry involves only healthy, physcially and mentally fit adults, then you can get an exemption. Otherwise, you have to attend full-scale training once, and a "refresher course" every three years.

I hated that I had to spend time learning about sexual abuse, even though I am not and never was an abuser. I hated to be reminded of the the minority of priests who broke the sacred trust the faithful placed in them, and the majority of blameless and dedicated priests who have suffered because of the scandal. I expecially hated that the session reminded me that the majority of bishops (yes, that's right, a majority of the successors to the apostles in the US) were in some way complicit in enabling these priests to abuse our children. Well--that fact was not highlighted in the training, but I was reminded of this, not in a "holding grudge" kind of way, but in a "we must never allow this to happen again" kind of way.

Yet, if we want to ensure that abuse never happens again to a child or vulnerable adult, all of us in ministry must be trained to learn the signs of abuse, the appropriate and inappropriate behaviors regarding children or vulnerable adults, and what to do if we become aware that something just isn't right.

The training is all about the kids and those who can't take care of themselves, and making sure that the Church is a welcoming and safe place for them--not about me, my comfort level, or the little sacrifice I made to attend. The training also reminded me that I can be aware of what's going on around me without treating priests, friends in faith, and ministry partners with suspician.

Not my favorite way to spend a Saturday morning, but it was the right thing to do. However, I'm still shallow enough to hope that I racked up at least a few purgatory bonus points.

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