abuse

Legacies of Abuse?


I have spent the last week in Sydney at a meeting of theological educators for the Uniting Church in Australia. A focus of attention has been the Royal Commission into institutional child sexual abuse, and the impact of abuse in public mistrust of the churches was part of our reflection. I had recalled how an Anglican priest had told me that he had been spat on while wearing a clerical (“dog”) collar on the way to his ordination.

So as I walked around yesterday, I was struck by a discovery on the pavement/sidewalk just outside a parish centre. Written in chalk—not daubed in paint or something more permanent and difficult to remove—and also not, it seemed, scrawled in haste but in written with deliberate care, I found some “graffiti”…

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There’s no knowing if this message relates to experience or perception of abuse by the churches. But no liturgical thinking can go forward in Australia without lament of the abuse which has afflicted not only so many persons but damaged Christian communities.