Tomorrow I'm going to spend from 9 to 4 in Thomaston at 'Safe Church Training'.
Priests in this Diocese have to do it every 3 years or get defrocked. I'm not kidding! And if you are 'defrocked', you are (excuse the dark humor) 'frocked up'!. You can't serve as a priest.
That is, by the way, the only reason I'm going.
My friend, who is taking me, called and said, "Jim, are you going to this totally useless day in Thomaston? If so, I'll pick you up at 8."
I didn't name my friend in case anyone in the Diocesan hierarchy reads this, which I doubt. I don't care if they know what I think and say and write.
Here's the deal, as I see it: 'Safe Church Training' is more about safety for the insurance company than for the members of the churches.
If the Diocese can point to triennial proof that they told you not to do this and that which is wrong, the insurance company doesn't have to pay damages when some priest does 'this or that which is wrong'.
The training is boring and rote and never interesting or new.
Maybe tomorrow will be exciting and novel and new.
I'm a cynic about it all.
Most priests are not going to do something they shouldn't do. And day every three years is not going to prevent someone who is a sexual abuser from abusing.
But it will save the church from having to pay the victim.
I'd rather we did something that helped the victims of clergy abuse.
That's what I wish.
But I want to stay 'frocked'. so I'll be there.
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