A Lesson from Pharaoh's Wife
Updated: Dec 4, 2019
I turned on the television and there was one of those lawyer commercials—not for a defective medical procedure or for being in a car accident, but a commercial looking for people who had been sexually molested by a priest or other religious worker.
The recent documents that have come to light about how the Catholic Church has covered up sexual crimes by their priests, especially related to young boys, have stirred the waters. While these crimes need to be sifted out and punished, be assured that there's blood in the water and the sharks are circling the boat.
Not everyone who responds to the television commercial will have been sexually abused or violated; some will simply be looking for a pay day. Others who hate Christ and the church will be looking to give us a black eye. Be sure that your cupboards are being viewed suspiciously, for there is an enemy who will seek to exploit any crumb; so our house had better be clean!
As one commentator said, “These documents just pertain to the State of Pennsylvania; that means this is just one fiftieth of the problem in regard to what's yet to come.” We must comprehend that these crimes committed by Catholic priests will muddy and pollute the waters for all churches and pastors.
As ministers of Jesus Christ, we have a sacred duty not to allow anything we do associated with His name to be held in contempt. We must understand that people in our communities, while maybe not linking us to any such crimes, are being given ample evidence to look at us suspiciously. After suspicion, comes accusation. No evidence is needed to make an accusation—zero, zip, nothing! Ask Joseph. Potiphar’s wife just had to scream. Nothing much has changed today.
I believe I'm giving you an apostolic warning. Have your house in order! That means that all the procedures that you have to protect children against sexual predators are being strictly followed. If you don't have such procedures, get some! Make sure a background check has been conducted on anybody and everybody who has anything to do with children—even a little bit. I would suggest that you make it very clear to your staff and children’s workers that they are never allowed to be one-on-one with children.
I think we've reached the day where video monitoring may become a necessity. We must remember that the most evil predators very rarely, if ever, draw suspicion. That's what makes them so dangerous! We must be proactive and offer no apologies in regard to offending people in our church who think they are above reproach and abiding by the rules, who may not think that full disclosure applies to them.
Beyond the background check, I believe there should be training put in place that every children’s and youth worker is required to participate in. Part of the training should be to include what their responsibility is if they even suspect there is something going on with a child. This must be very clear to them and we must not just assume that they already understand these things. I believe it would be wise to consider personal interviews with all those involved in working with our children and youth. This, in itself, will serve as a hedge against sexual predators. As the old saying goes, “You're not being paranoid if they really are out to get you!”
In the coming months and years, we are going to see pastors across this country accused of sexual crimes. The church will be attacked with false allegations that could have been avoided had there been due diligence. As a pastor, one of our chief responsibilities is to provide a safe place for our children and to demonstrate and articulate that we are serious about their safety. That will only add to our credibility. So when Potiphar’s wife screams, we won't have to run. We will have evidence that our hands are clean, our heart is pure, and all of God’s children are safe with us.
In the Master's Service,
NRP Apostolic Team Leader