Sometimes, I am proud to be a lawyer. In May, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops revealed that during the one year period ending June 2015, the Church paid out $153,000,000 in damages to victims of clergy sex abuse. During that same year, an additional 384 new victims came forward with claims of sex abuse.
But this is trivial. Between 1950 and 2015, the Church in the U.S. paid out a total of $3.5 Billion (!) in damages for clergy sex abuse. A staggering amount, and due entirely to the fact that lawyers for those victims filed lawsuits against the Church, for which the Church was forced to pay up.
When I read these numbers, I was shocked! How could the Church have failed to take effective action to prevent those crimes? If for no other reason than the monstrous cost! (Not to mention the monstrous sin those crimes represent, but which does not seem to have unduly troubled Church leaders).
How could such a large, bureaucratic, long-lived, world-wide organization – financially responsible for the upkeep and support of hundreds of thousands of churches, nuns and priests – have failed to stop the hemorrhaging of all that money? You might think they couldn’t see any way to prevent those crimes. But you would be wrong.
I remember reading about the famous preacher Reverend Billy Graham – and one unusual “policy” to which he scrupulously adhered. He had an office in his church, and – although he was a famous TV preacher – he still tended to his flock. And it would sometimes happen that a young (and perhaps attractive) female parishioner would come to him for counseling. But despite his fame, he would not turn such a person away.
But what he did do is this: He would never meet with such a woman in private. He would never take her into his office and close the door. Instead, he would ask his confidential secretary to join them, so there was always another person present when he ministered to one of his flock. He would never allow such a young woman to be alone with him.
The reason is plain. It is only “human nature” that out of 1,000 such women he might counsel, there will be that one who – after meeting alone with the Reverend – will be seen two weeks later standing in front of cameras and microphones on the courthouse steps, accompanied by Gloria Allred (famous lawyer, woman’s advocate and Handmaiden of Satan; but I repeat myself), accusing the Reverend of groping her in private. This was something neither the Reverend nor his church wanted to see happen. Hence the policy I described.
But if you think about it, you will realize that – although this policy was there to protect the Reverend and his church – it’s also true that it protected those young women. (Though I doubt they needed protection from this particular preacher.)
Having that policy in effect did not cost Reverend Graham or his church any extra expense, and at the end of the year…Surprise! Neither the Reverend nor his church had suffered any visitation from Gloria Allred, nor had his church paid out any millions of dollars to lawyers (and their clients) on account of “clergy abuse.”
Now ask yourself: If you (a slim, attractive young woman, having long and shapely legs, an impertinent tushy and an ample bosom) were to travel to Rome, and if you were to visit the Vatican and ask to see the Pope for “consultation,” do you think you would be admitted into the Pope’s “inner sanctum” where you might meet him alone in private – with the door closed? Not likely. You can bet the Pope follows the identical policy as the Reverend, and for the same reason.
So if Reverend Graham could follow this policy, and if the Pope can do the same, why can’t our local churches (and not just the Catholic ones) implement this protective policy… where children are concerned? Aren’t those 12 year-olds just as much at risk of abuse as those (irresistibly hot) young women I described?
Is it really possible that despite having paid out Billions of Dollars in damages, our churches have not yet grasped that fact that there are all-too-many priests and preachers and “youth pastors” who are not to be trusted to take a child into an office and close the door?
The time has come to institute the Reverend’s policy in churches throughout the land. We should no longer allow our children to be abused and exploited by these “men of God” who hide their lust behind a thin veneer of piety. If Reverend Graham could be faithful to this policy, certainly others who claim to do God’s work can do so, as well.