Last month the bishops of England and Wales went away for in-service training. The subject of our time together was safeguarding. We were led by survivors and experts to a greater understanding of the issues involved. It was a pretty harrowing experience but there was light and hope despite the horrendous stories we heard.
To me, it was remarkable that people who had been abused by the clergy still remained in the Church. They are the channels of light. These are people who had suffered much and were still suffering much, but who because of their courage are able to help the bishops gain an insight into this terrible problem that has afflicted our Church. Their faith in God was greater than their faith in the Church; maybe now something more can be done to bridge that gap.
One of the experts who gave us so much to think about and act upon, said that we should live holy communion. Well, this is the time of year when we celebrate First Holy Communions in our parishes, which are always lovely events that are full of joy and hope for the future. Living holy communion makes us want to take the joy of that day into the rest of our lives. The same love that is enjoyed by friends and family members, the friendship between priest, deacon and family, the unity between home, school and parish; these should be a firm foundation for engaging throughout life with other people of all ages in which abuse can have no part.