The Lead at the Episcopal Cafe posted this disturbing release of information about a retired bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Nothwestern Pennsylvania. The post relates that he was bishop
"from 1974 to 1991. The four cases occurred in the late 1970s and early 1980s."And yesterday the allegations of five more cases were reported at GoErie.com.
Having been trained in both "safe church" and in the Boy Scouts "two deep principle," it appears to me that safety has to involve the careful selection of leaders, ongoing supervision of those in positions of power, continued training for clergy, avoidance of situations where abuse might occur or might be alleged to have occurred, and of course, prayer for the Lord to strengthen our leaders so that they might not, excuse the reference, take advantage of their flock. I can simagine the problems that a pastor of a small congregation might face in trying to maintain safe church practices, and I am thankful that most pastors are safe to be around, but who knows what goes on in their hearts at all times?
Reports such as these have become so common that one has to wonder just what is wrong with mankind? Biologists, sociologists, and psychiatrics will all offer up their answers to that question, but I have to face the facts that the potential for evil behavior lies in each and everyone of us, but people will vary in the thresholds at which that potential becomes action. While some cross that barrier too easily and should punished when they do, the rest of us also have a lot to pray about because in our own hearts we all harbor some "secret sins" that we keep below the threshold of action. While I continue to pray for purity of heart and mind, it seems that there exists this potential for evil that keeps trying to rise to the level of consciousness. Those evil thoughts are among the things we must confess daily (and before we come to the Eucharist). We can keep no secrets from He who died for us.
Pray with me, spare us Lord...
Psalm 90 Domine, refugium
1 Lord, you have been our refuge *
from one generation to another.
2 Before the mountains were brought forth,
or the land and the earth were born, *
from age to age you are God.
3 You turn us back to the dust and say, *
"Go back, O child of earth."
4 For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday
when it is past *
and like a watch in the night.
5 You sweep us away like a dream; *
we fade away suddenly like the grass.
6 In the morning it is green and flourishes; *
in the evening it is dried up and withered.
7 For we consume away in your displeasure; *
we are afraid because of your wrathful indignation.
8 Our iniquities you have set before you, *
and our secret sins in the light of your countenance.
9 When you are angry, all our days are gone; *
we bring our years to an end like a sigh.
10 The span of our life is seventy years,
perhaps in strength even eighty; *
yet the sum of them is but labor and sorrow,
for they pass away quickly and we are gone.
11 Who regards the power of your wrath? *
who rightly fears your indignation?
12 So teach us to number our days *
that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.
13 Return, O LORD; how long will you tarry? *
be gracious to your servants.