You will notice that in this newsletter there is also an announcement from the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry. As a church we have to be aware that abuse of children often has not been addressed adequately in the past, that oversight was not satisfactory. Often the Church did not have due process in place or did not follow such processes to the extent necessary. But this is not only a question of process. In parts, a culture has been allowed to develop in which acts of abuse were covered over and which even provided the opportunity for abuse of children. At some particular institutions within the church abuse was ingrained and part of the overall culture for a long time.
We must be aware of the sin that has taken such a toll on abused individuals and the Church. We need to be clear that such abuse is first of all a fall from what Christians are called to be, that it is an affront to God’s love. But rather than just pointing the finger, we need to acknowledge that we are all in danger of drawing away from God and falling into sin. And we need to put in place and encourage habits that keep Christians close to Christ, that allow for accountability, for humility and purity.
The church is called to care for the vulnerable, for the marginalised in our society. It is bitter that exactly where the church focused some of the help to those vulnerable, the Church’s help was steeped in sin, and the vulnerable were exploited. We cannot step away from care, but the Church has acknowledged that some of the provision and structures need to change.