The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has revealed about the Catholic Church in Australia that:
- More than 4440 Australians claim to have been victims of church abuse between 1980 and 2015;
- As many as 384 Catholic diocesan priests, 188 religious priests, 597 religious brothers and 96 religious sisters have had claims of child sexual abuse made against them since 1950. Claims have also been made against 543 lay church workers; and
- More than 1000 Catholic institutions across Australia were identified in claims of sexual abuse, with a total of 1880 alleged perpetrators between 1980 and 2015.
Now consider, what if Jesus were asked to comment on this tragedy today?
JESUS: This is a subject on which I really have had a lot to say. You will not have to stretch a point to understand my views about the value of children. I have given very clear instructions to my followers. The accused and their protectors have squandered my reputation and that of the Church by their procrastinations, dissembling and shortcomings on this real issue, which is so close to my heart.
PRESS: You seem very passionate about child abuse.
JESUS: Well, aren’t we all? Sadly, my bishops have chosen to ignore the authority I have expressly given them about children and their abusers.
PRESS: What have you ever said about this issue?
JESUS: One day, I was teaching my apostles. These were the first bishops – my own bishops, whom I personally appointed. They were curious about rank and precedence in heaven. Naturally, they wanted to know who I thought would secure the most favourable positions in heaven. They kept asking me about who’d get to be in the inner sanctum? Who would sit closest to the Father Himself? I saw this as a good opportunity to assert my authority. I spoke to my bishops ex cathedra, giving them one of my core teachings. Later these teachings were recounted first by Matthew and then corroborated by Mark and Luke. I saw a little kid watching me so I called him over and sat the kid in the middle of them all and then I taught them the following important lesson. May I quote?
“Listen! I’m telling you disciples the truth now. Unless you change and become like little kids, YOU won’t ever be getting into the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever makes himself as little as this little kid, he’s the one who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And anyone who welcomes one little kid like this one, in my name, also welcomes me.” (Matt 18:1-5)
PRESS: What did you say about the abuse of children? And, in particular, what did you say about the abuse of children that follow your group?
JESUS: Well, here I became most passionate. I said to them:
“But if anyone is the downfall of one of these little kids who believes in me, it were better for him that he drowned in the deep of the sea with a great millstone tied round his neck.” (Matt 18:6)
PRESS: Did you really say that?
JESUS: Yes, I am on the record in Matthew, Mark and Luke in the New Jerusalem Bible, which is the official Vatican version of the Bible.
PRESS: Child abuse can be emotional, physical or sexual and there have always been abusers of children. What else did you tell them?
JESUS: I said:
“It’s a great pity for the world that there should be such causes of kids falling. Causes of falling indeed there must be, but pity help anyone who is the cause of them!” (Matt 18:7)
PRESS: Did you ever prescribe any preventative measures?
“If your hand or your foot should be your downfall, cut it off and throw it away: it is better for you to enter into life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.” (Matt 18:8)
PRESS: What about those, like your bishops, in positions of responsibility for the protection of children? What about those who just turned a blind eye?
JESUS: I told them:
“And if your eye should be your downfall, tear it out and throw it away: it is better for you to enter into life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be thrown into the hell of fire.” (Matt 18:9)
PRESS: What about consequences from heaven? Are those who have abused children likely to go undetected? Are those who have failed to protect children in their care likely to get away with it?
JESUS: Well, what do you think? I said:
“See that you never despise any of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven are continually in the presence of my Father in Heaven.” (Matt 18:10)
PRESS: Thank you for the unusual and refreshing clarity of your responses to our questions.
*Michael Hewitt-Gleeson is a Melbourne writer at Vaticanology.net and has been a Vaticanologist for 30 years.