Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Churchgoers have a right to know about clergymen behaving badly

[...] No doubt many in the Church would wish these stories stayed under wraps, not just the commentators who do not wish to appear prurient and the theologians who want the authorities to provide pastoral care rather than punishment.

But I believe that despite the personal discomfiture of the priests who have made so many headlines, and that of their innocent families, the Church is right to publish the full findings of these hearings.

Not to punish them further through public humiliation, but because vicars are servants of the people as well as of God, and so their parishioners have a right to know when they have fallen short of the high ethical standards demanded of them.

Obviously there will be fears that naughty vicar stories bring the Church into disrepute. But how much more damaging would it be to churchgoers, and to the image of the Church as a whole, if dioceses tried to cover them up? Read more
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