The need for good governance, accountability and transparency in the Church has never more clear than in the face of the revelations of the sexual abuse of children by clergy and other members of the Church. It is, quite clearly, a needed reform, and I would suggest that like most reforms in the Church it takes time for them to come to fruition, not because of an unwillingness for the transparency, accountability and governance to be present in the Church – though there is certainly some of that still present – but because the Church is such a large behemoth that such needed reforms simply take time to come into being.
That being said, I am always concerned when one portion of the Church appears to take it upon themselves to establish standards for any other group in the Church, to ‘investigate’ any perceived breaches of those standards, and then to ‘report’ any breaches of standards (by which it usually meant that ‘perpetrators’ will be publicly named and shamed without any right of reply). Such is my concern in relation to the news item below, and the question that forms the title of this post.
Who are these people? Where do they get their funding? What is their true purpose?
Reading between the lines, and reading the quotes from those associated with the group, this new organisation is driven more by ecclesiastical politics and ideology than a real commitment to the much-needed reform in Church governance, accountability and transparency.
As has become abundantly clear over the northern hemisphere summer in the United States, there is much more at play than a true desire for reform. The crisis that is “suddenly” appeared within the Church in the United States is being used by some particular groups within that part of the Universal Church to further an agenda that has nothing to do with the suffering of those who are victims of abuse.
It is, quite simply, all about power.
It is an example of the new form of ‘clericalism’ that is emerging in the Church, one displayed not by members of the clergy but rather by those who think that their wealth means they should govern the Church.
Who watches the watchers?
Hopefully, those who are more sensible and more attuned to a proper understanding of what is needed to happen for the future of the mission of proclaiming the Reign of God.