I wrote this poem a long time ago - probably twenty years ago - and still it throbs with meaning for us and our church today. I actually have come to believe that it has more to do with protecting the church's image than protecting people who abuse children - either today or in the past.
The Church is into the protection business.
A travesty of sanctuary.
We have to protect the bastards.
It wouldn’t do for anyone to know.
Cut out the tongues of victims
Blind their eyes
Spin webs of silence
round and round them
Suck out their lifeblood
then discard the case.
But don’t, for God’s sake,
hold the perpetrators accountable.
They were, after all,
or won’t (they promise)
commit these obscene acts again.
“Forgive,” they say.
“Aren’t we all good Christians?”
“Good Christian men rejoice
with heart and soul and voice…”
the birth of one who said,
“The truth shall set you free.”
So why, in God’s name,
don’t we encourage those
whose names were torn in shreds
in offices and choir lofts
to speak their truth?
Forgiveness is for God.
Who will protect our children,
if not the Church?