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By Diogenes (articles ) | May 05, 2005

From Ekklesia (UK):

Churches trained to welcome child abusers

Churches are to receive training in how to welcome those who have abused children, into their congregations. The first-ever training programme to help churches respond to the growing number of former sex offenders at services and other church activities, will be launched next week.

It follows the success of Christian work in prisons and other initiatives which mean a growing number of ex-offenders are joining churches. The programme, which is part-funded by the Department for Education and Skills, is to be unveiled at the National Christian Resources Exhibition.

Simon Bass of CCPAS commented; "Churches know that the Gospel commands Christians to receive back the repentant sinner –- even former child abusers -- and the success of the Alpha Course in prisons and other initiatives means there are growing numbers of offenders now looking to join church communities."

Here's what I don't get. If the point at issue is acceptance of the repentant sinner, shouldn't the churches be giving the training instead of receiving it?

Read in one way, it seems to be a totally reasonable program for protecting kids by alerting parishes to unseen dangers of recidivism -- but if so, why do they emphasize their success in prisons, where offenders hardly need to learn the manifold dodges of offenders?

As with those weirdly named workshops purporting to teach priests "what celibacy means," a project to instruct churches in how to welcome abusers will almost certainly take the form of coaching openness to "sexualities different from our own" -- in other words, an invitation to consider how my church's moral teaching is wrong.

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  • Posted by: - May. 05, 2005 10:11 AM ET USA

    Dear Uncle Di, We members of the "Secret Society of Evelyn Waugh prose stylists" know exactly what you mean.

  • Posted by: - May. 05, 2005 10:06 AM ET USA

    Speak for yourself Pat.. My bet is that Cardinal Mahoney has invested a ton of archdiocesan money on this AND is requiring the program to be taught in every parish.

  • Posted by: - May. 05, 2005 9:43 AM ET USA

    I don't know anything about the NCRE, but the Catholic Church already has a program for dealing with repentent sinners called the Sacrament of Confession. I know that it has been hidden from a lot of pastors, but if they look for it in their manuals they will find it. Also, how does anyone know you are a child abuser unless you tell people. I thought tatooing went out with WWII.

  • Posted by: - May. 05, 2005 7:28 AM ET USA

    Diogenes, if you don't get any feedback on this item, please consider it may be because nobody knows what you are trying to say.