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3 insurers shed light on Protestant church sex abuse
Houston Chronicle ^ | June 14, 2007 | ROSE FRENCH

Posted on 06/15/2007 5:33:53 AM PDT by Between the Lines

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The three companies that insure the majority of Protestant churches in America say they typically receive upward of 260 reports each year of young people under 18 being sexually abused by clergy, church staff, volunteers or congregation members.

The figures released to The Associated Press offer a glimpse into what has long been an extremely difficult phenomenon to pin down — the frequency of sex abuse in Protestant congregations.

Religious groups and victims' supporters have been keenly interested in the figure ever since the Roman Catholic sex abuse crisis hit five years ago. The church has revealed that there have been 13,000 credible accusations against Catholic clerics since 1950.

Protestant numbers have been harder to come by and are sketchier because the denominations are less centralized than the Catholic church; indeed, many congregations are independent, which makes reporting even more difficult.

Some of the only numbers come from three insurance companies — Church Mutual Insurance Co., GuideOne Insurance Co. and Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Co.

Together, they insure 165,495 churches and worship centers for liability against child sex abuse and other sexual misconduct, mostly Protestant congregations but a few other faiths as well. They also insure more than 5,500 religious schools, camps and other organizations.

The companies represent a large chunk of all U.S. Protestant churches. There are about 224,000 in the U.S., according to the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, although that number excludes most historically black denominations and some other groups, which account for several thousand congregations.

Church Mutual, GuideOne and Brotherhood Mutual each provided statistics on sex abuse claims to The Associated Press, although they did not produce supporting documentation or a way to determine whether the reports were credible.

The largest company, Church Mutual, reported an average of about 100 sex abuse cases a year involving minors over the past decade. GuideOne, which has about half the clients of Church Mutual, said it has received an average of 160 reports of sex abuse against minors every year for the past two decades.

Brotherhood Mutual said it has received an average of 73 reports of child sex abuse and other sexual misconduct every year for the past 15 years. However, Brotherhood does not specify which victims are younger than 18 so it is impossible to accurately add that to the total cases.

Abuse reports don't always mean the accused was guilty, and they don't necessarily result in financial awards or settlements, the companies said. The reports include accusations against clergy, church staff and volunteers.

Even with hundreds of cases a year "that's a very small number. That probably doesn't even constitute half," said Gary Schoener, director of the Walk-In Counseling Center in Minneapolis, a consultant on hundreds of Protestant and Catholic clergy misconduct cases. "Sex abuse in any domain, including the church, is reported seldom. We know a small amount actually come forward."

Tom Farr, general counsel and senior vice president of claims for GuideOne, based in West Des Moines, Iowa, said most abuse cases are resolved privately in court-ordered mediation. Awards can range from millions of dollars down to paying for counseling for victims, he said.

One of the largest settlements to date in Protestant churches involved the case of former Lutheran minister Gerald Patrick Thomas Jr. in Texas, where a jury several years ago awarded the minister's victims nearly $37 million. Separate earlier settlements involving Thomas cost an additional $32 million.

When insurance companies first started getting reports of abuse from churches nearly two decades ago, the cases usually involved abuse that happened many years earlier. But over the past several years, the alleged abuse is more recent — which could reflect a greater awareness about reporting abuse, insurance companies said.

Insurance officials said the number of sex abuse cases has remained steady over the past two decades, but they also said churches are working harder to prevent child sex abuse by conducting background checks, installing windows in nurseries and play areas and requiring at least two adults in a room with a child.

Patrick Moreland, vice president of marketing for Church Mutual, said churches are particularly susceptible to abusers.

"By their nature, congregations are the most trusting of organizations, so that makes them attractive targets for predators," he said. "If you're a predator, where do you go? You go to a congregation that will welcome you."

A victims' advocacy group has said the Southern Baptists, the nation's largest Protestant denomination, could do more to prevent abuse by creating a list of accused clergy the public and churches could access.

"I think they should have a list of credibly reported clergy child abuse," said Christa Brown, a member of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a group initially created to hold the Catholic church accountable for sex abuse by its clergy.

"These are things people are entitled to know," said Brown, who says she was sexually abused as a child by a Southern Baptist minister. "The only way to prevent this crime is to break the code of silence and to have absolute transparency when allegations are raised."

At the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting in San Antonio this week, the Rev. Wade Burleson of Enid, Okla., proposed a feasibility study into developing a national database of Southern Baptist ministers who have been "credibly accused of, personally confessed to, or legally been convicted of sexual harassment or abuse."

A convention committee referred Burleson's motion to the SBC executive committee, which will report back with findings and a recommendation at next year's meeting in Indianapolis.

Southern Baptist President Frank Page said leaders are considering several options to help churches protect children against abuse.

"We believe that the Scripture teaches that the church should be an autonomous, independent organization," Page said. "We encourage churches to hold accountable at the local level those who may have misused the trust of precious children and youth."

Several years ago, the Baptist General Convention of Texas, which represents moderates who have increasingly distanced themselves from the conservative-led Southern Baptists, started a list of accused clergy for churches, but not the public. Under pressure from victim advocates, the Texas group just released the names of some convicted sex offenders who may have been ministers in local congregations.

Joe Trull, editor of Christian Ethics Today and retired ethics professor at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, helped the Texas convention create its registry and says there are now about 11 cases involving clergy abuse with minors.

But he believes these are just the "tip of the iceberg" because churches don't have to report abuse cases to the registry and aren't likely to.

"The problem we're having is that churches just weren't sending the names," Trull said. "In the normal scenario, they just try to keep it secret. We're going to have to be more proactive and let them know if they don't come forward, they're helping to perpetuate this problem."


TOPICS: Charismatic Christian; Current Events; Evangelical Christian; Mainline Protestant
KEYWORDS: ephebophiles; moralabsolutes; pedophiles; sexabuse; sexcrimes
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1 posted on 06/15/2007 5:33:56 AM PDT by Between the Lines
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Ping for reference


2 posted on 06/15/2007 5:59:34 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
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To: Between the Lines
One of the largest settlements to date in Protestant churches involved the case of former Lutheran minister Gerald Patrick Thomas Jr. in Texas, where a jury several years ago awarded the minister's victims nearly $37 million. Separate earlier settlements involving Thomas cost an additional $32 million.

No kidding! And the New York Times was ... silent. And the Washington Post was ... silent. CNN was ... silent. ABCCBSNBC was ... silent.

"We believe that the Scripture teaches that the church should be an autonomous, independent organization," Page said. "We encourage churches to hold accountable at the local level those who may have misused the trust of precious children and youth."

Fascinating.

3 posted on 06/15/2007 6:20:53 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is aborting, buggering, and contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: Between the Lines; NYer; Alex Murphy; xzins; Mad Dawg; Quix
I certainly hope the proddie* leaders figure it out faster and better than the Catholic bishops did. A desire to keep things quiet and avoid scandals didn't exactly work out well for them...

 

*The term 'proddie', as used in this post, is intended as an abbreviation for those ecclesiastic communities that were founded in Western/ Central Europe or Western-European influenced areas following the 'reformation.' It is not indicative of the communities' creeds (or lack thereof), progeny, or doctrine. It also is not intended as a perjorative, as used here, in any fashion. Copyright © 2007. All rights reserved.

4 posted on 06/15/2007 6:25:22 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra ecclesiam nulla salus CINO-RINO GRAZIE NO)
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To: Between the Lines

I would suspect that a lot of the abuse cases involve young, single, male youth pastors violating a commandment or two with 15 - 17 year old girls that they are chrged with “shepherding”. I have been to two churches where that was rumored to have occured or at least be strongly suspected.

A smart church will have their youth pastors be 25-40, married and with a kid or two of their own. This won’t weed out the flat out pedo-pervs, but it would cut down on the 22 year old youth pastor fresh out of bible college being tempted into “intense fellowship” with the 16 year old girls he is assigned to work with.


5 posted on 06/15/2007 6:30:24 AM PDT by L,TOWM (Liberals, The Other White Meat [protest for... violence and peace])
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To: markomalley; L,TOWM; Alex Murphy

We recently were required to attend an “ethics training” that the insurers told us would reduce our insurance costs. (I’m a United Methodist.)

The statement is simply that there are trained lawyers who specialize in bringing suits against churches. That was obvious.

What the insurer basically wanted was to be able to go into court with every pastor and church worker on record as having been officially trained not to violate sexual ethics codes. It seems obvious that they would know better, but having their signature saying they were trained not to do such things greatly reduces the church’s liability.


6 posted on 06/15/2007 6:38:32 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain And Proud of It! Those who support the troops will pray for them to WIN!)
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To: L,TOWM; markomalley; Alex Murphy

I would not assume it is just the young. I know for a fact that in our denomination that it is not. It crosses all age ranges, even up to retirees.


7 posted on 06/15/2007 6:41:04 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain And Proud of It! Those who support the troops will pray for them to WIN!)
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To: Between the Lines

**Religious groups and victims’ supporters have been keenly interested in the figure ever since the Roman Catholic sex abuse crisis hit five years ago. The church has revealed that there have been 13,000 credible accusations against Catholic clerics since 1950.

Protestant numbers have been harder to come by and are sketchier because the denominations are less centralized than the Catholic church; indeed, many congregations are independent, which makes reporting even more difficult.**

Does anyone have the magic answer telling us why the Protestant churches do NOT report these sexual abuse cases? Or why the media does not pick up those stories when they do come out??

Inquiring minds would like to know.


8 posted on 06/15/2007 6:42:24 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: xzins
greatly reduces the church’s liability.

Where does the liability fall? The pastor, personally? That would be more just, of course, but less lucrative. With a few notorious exceptions, I haven't generally noticed priests and pastors having a great deal of personal wealth.

9 posted on 06/15/2007 6:43:21 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is aborting, buggering, and contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: ArrogantBustard
And the New York Times was ... silent...

While they were not entirely silent, they were far from alarmist on the subject.

Abuse by Clergy Is Not Just a Catholic Problem - New York Times

Lutheran minister asked to quit sexuality task force - CNN

Also note that this is an AP article.

10 posted on 06/15/2007 6:44:00 AM PDT by Between the Lines (I am very cognizant of my fallibility, sinfulness, and other limitations.)
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To: L,TOWM
A smart church will have their youth pastors be 25-40, married and with a kid or two of their own.

Our church has adopted new rules which prohibit any clergy or volunteer to be alone with a youth or someone of the opposite sex. It was hard to adapt to at first but works well now.

11 posted on 06/15/2007 6:48:42 AM PDT by Between the Lines (I am very cognizant of my fallibility, sinfulness, and other limitations.)
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To: Between the Lines
this is an AP article.

Which means every friggin' news outlet from NBC Nightly News down to KPDK in Podunk had it on the wires. I guess a $32 million judgement against a major Protestant church just ain't newsworthy. If I were Protestant, I'd be insulted.

12 posted on 06/15/2007 6:48:50 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is aborting, buggering, and contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: L,TOWM
I would suspect that a lot of the abuse cases involve young, single, male youth pastors violating a commandment or two with 15 - 17 year old girls that they are chrged with “shepherding”. I have been to two churches where that was rumored to have occured or at least be strongly suspected.

There was a study of Protestant abuses posted here a few months back, which IIRC documented that 75% of the reported cases were committed by laypersons/volunteers, and only 25% committed by the pastorate/clergy. IMO your "young single male" youth pastor resembles the former category rather than the latter, because he is uncommitted and unaccountable in his personal life, and is probably the lowest-paid (assuming he's paid at all) and lowest-ranking member of the church leadership team. In my own church, we've gone through at least three "youth pastors" in six years. Not exactly the same picture of stability and commitment that we get from our Senior Pastor.

A smart church will have their youth pastors be 25-40, married and with a kid or two of their own. This won’t weed out the flat out pedo-pervs, but it would cut down on the 22 year old youth pastor fresh out of bible college being tempted into “intense fellowship” with the 16 year old girls he is assigned to work with.

That's a good recommendation, and I would go even farther if possible. I don't see why the 1 Timothy 3 standards for leadership shouldn't be applied at all levels, all the way down to the youth pastor.

13 posted on 06/15/2007 6:52:02 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
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To: Salvation
Does anyone have the magic answer telling us why the Protestant churches do NOT report these sexual abuse cases? ?

Who do you propose that they should report them to? The Catholic Church?

Or why the media does not pick up those stories when they do come out??

Does the name "Ted Haggard" mean anything to you?

14 posted on 06/15/2007 6:54:29 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
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To: ArrogantBustard

Obviously, the pastor is liable before God.

Lawyers, looking for a big payoff, would want to bring the church into the liability. That would be possible if they can demonstrate some type of negligence on the church’s part.


15 posted on 06/15/2007 6:55:40 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain And Proud of It! Those who support the troops will pray for them to WIN!)
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To: xzins
Lawyers, looking for a big payoff, would want to bring the church into the liability. That would be possible if they can demonstrate some type of negligence on the church’s part.

A lawyers group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) that formed in response to the Catholic abuse cases are the reason we are seeing more and more articles like this today.

It seems there are not enough Catholic abuses anymore and they smell money in expanding their activities to Protestant areas.

16 posted on 06/15/2007 7:04:30 AM PDT by Between the Lines (I am very cognizant of my fallibility, sinfulness, and other limitations.)
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To: Between the Lines; P-Marlowe; Dr. Eckleburg; ears_to_hear

They are correct to suspect cases in the protestant churches and the evangelical church and other religious bodies.

One thing about lawyers that’s very biblical: they COUNT ON the depraved sinfulness of human nature. They can rest assured that some in any group will commit sexual indiscretions.


17 posted on 06/15/2007 7:08:10 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain And Proud of It! Those who support the troops will pray for them to WIN!)
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To: Alex Murphy
Who do you propose that they should report them to? The Catholic Church?

I seem to recall various Protestants suggesting that the Catholic Church should (have) report(ed) them to the police. I actually consider that a good suggestion. Statutory Rape and Forcible Rape are felonies in all 50 States and the District of Columbia.

18 posted on 06/15/2007 7:09:28 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is aborting, buggering, and contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: xzins

I can only speak for myself, but at a certain point I started to notice that young ladies were looking too much like my daughter for me to think of as “attractive”.

That is beginning to include ladies in their early 20’s at my job.

I guess my journey into fogey-ism continues unhindered...


19 posted on 06/15/2007 7:16:00 AM PDT by L,TOWM (Liberals, The Other White Meat [protest for... violence and peace])
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To: Alex Murphy
I don't see why the 1 Timothy 3 standards for leadership shouldn't be applied at all levels, all the way down to the youth pastor.

Absolute agreement.

20 posted on 06/15/2007 7:18:58 AM PDT by L,TOWM (Liberals, The Other White Meat [protest for... violence and peace])
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To: ArrogantBustard; Salvation
I seem to recall various Protestants suggesting that the Catholic Church should (have) report(ed) them to the police. I actually consider that a good suggestion.

As do I. While I understand Salvation's frustration with the (perceived) disproportionate media coverage, IMO the media zeroed in on the Catholic Church because they caught the church in a cover-up, not because of the abuses themselves. These aren't just ecclesiastical crimes; they're civil crimes as well. The various Archdioceses' retention of these abusive priests may satisfy ecclesiastical law re the former category, but their refusal to acknowledge and respond appropriately re the latter category is IMO what gave this issue "legs" with the press.

Aside from the civil issues, "Protestant" churches tend to address their ecclesiastical issues quite rapidly. The Ted Haggard story "went away" because his church (rightly) booted him from his position of authority, and he removed himself from leadership at the National Association of Evangelicals, all within a matter of days after he was outed. Had Haggard tried to retain either position, or had the church tried to install him in another congregation w/o a revelation of his deeds to them, I'm sure the media would have hounded Ted Haggard to the end of his days.

21 posted on 06/15/2007 7:30:46 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
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To: Alex Murphy
Several years ago, the Baptist General Convention of Texas, which represents moderates who have increasingly distanced themselves from the conservative-led Southern Baptists, started a list of accused clergy for churches, but not the public.

Nor, apparently, for the police.

I'll take "Cover-ups by Another Name" for $2000, Alex.

It's you guys' turn in the grinder ... you have my sympathy. Best thing to do is visibly and vigorously purge yourselves of the satanic perverts. I'd think that would be obvious, by now.

22 posted on 06/15/2007 7:37:29 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is aborting, buggering, and contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: Between the Lines

Don’t hide it. Prosecute all offenders the first time they are offenders. If someone has a history of it and they have done their jail time, tell them to worship at home. That may be tough, but a truly repentant person would be completely willing to do whatever it takes to keep the kids safe.


23 posted on 06/15/2007 7:40:40 AM PDT by The Ghost of FReepers Past (Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light..... Isaiah 5:20)
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To: ArrogantBustard
I'll take "Cover-ups by Another Name" for $2000, Alex.

You may be right - I missed that in my reading of the article.

Drawing up such a list for internal purposes is IMO a wise move for dealing with the ecclesiastical issue (say, adultery by a pastoral member), and the charge should be investigated by the ecclesiastical body for church discipline. Any accusations of a civil violation (i.e. statutory rape) should be encouraged to be reported by the accuser to the civil authorities, as well as be investigated by the ecclesiastical body for church discipline.

Hopefully, another list is drawn up that shows the names of those "accused and cleared" covering both the ecclesiastical and civil realms - and said ecclesiastical body should vigorously defend the honor and reputations of these named individuals afterwords, since they are cleared. Any names found on my theoretical first list that don't make it to my theoretical second list should be dismissed and prosecuted immediately, both ecclesiastically and civilly.

It's conceivable that this Baptist group's list is composed of those accused but cleared, but we don't know that from the article, and on first reading it certainly isn't painted that way.

24 posted on 06/15/2007 8:08:06 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
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To: xzins

YEah, One of my last “official” Episcopal things to do was to go for a day long sexual ethics and what-not course. It was clear the Insurer required it as a condition of insuring the Diocese for rates which were affordable.


25 posted on 06/15/2007 8:50:57 AM PDT by Mad Dawg (Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.)
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To: Mad Dawg

Limiting liability is the name of the game.


26 posted on 06/15/2007 9:07:27 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain And Proud of It! Those who support the troops will pray for them to WIN!)
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To: Between the Lines

I think this article and follow up discussion shows how difficult it is to track abuse in bodies that have a looser beaucracy.

Given that many other Faith Traditions can “Call” from across the Country, it is difficult to always get all the background.

Case in point: we have a so-called “independent” Latin Mass Chapel here in West Roxbury. They hired a Pastor awhile back name Brian McMahon, who it turned out, did time for Manslaughter and is rumored to have forced a parishioner he had an affair with to have an abortion.

And if anyone is wondering why this is comparable this guy is not a Catholic Priest he was/is a Sede therefore not “rostered” anywhere, just a free agent.


27 posted on 06/15/2007 10:05:39 AM PDT by Cheverus
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To: xzins; P-Marlowe; ears_to_hear; blue-duncan; 1000 silverlings; pjr12345; fortheDeclaration; ...
Yes, all men are fallen. In truth, a married clergy precludes much of the sin that is endemic to Rome.

The RCC only wishes there were sex scandals in Protestant churches of the same magnitude that exist in the RCC.

I urge everyone, Protestant and Catholic, to rent or buy the jarring, engrossing and truthful documentary DVD, "Deliver Us From Evil."

After viewing the DVD you realize the problem is so deep and vast as to be nearly insurmountable for the RCC.

And you understand better what the difference is between sexual transgressions in the RCC and the Protestant churches. In Protestant churches the minister is seen as a fellow believer, a leader who is learned and commissioned by God to teach and guide, but who is not any closer to God than any of his flock.

OTOH the RCC teaches that the priest is actually different from other believers, significantly closer to God because he is seen as the actual and required administrator of God's grace. Protestants rightly acknowledge this responsibility as belonging to the Holy Spirit alone and not to any man on earth.

It's this elevated position of supernatural authority, coupled with an unnatural, unBiblical celibacy, that create the massive, systemic problem in the RCC which the Protestant churches simply do not have, by the grace of God.

It's the difference between law-breaking under a republican form of government with its checks and balances, compared to law-breaking under a monarchy. One is open to scrutiny as much as possible; the other is hidden and subversive by definition and the perks of the position.

"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." -- Ephesians 5:11-14


28 posted on 06/15/2007 10:19:09 AM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: markomalley

The one case I know of ( a man in training for the pastorate touched a young girl inappropriately, no sodomy or intercourse),was announced to the church at a service, he was reported to the police and needless to say dismissed from the church and denomination


29 posted on 06/15/2007 10:31:11 AM PDT by ears_to_hear
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To: Dr. Eckleburg; xzins; P-Marlowe

“Yes, all men are fallen.”

And women too, except, being shorter, they don’t have to fall as far.


30 posted on 06/15/2007 10:34:36 AM PDT by blue-duncan
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To: markomalley
I certainly hope the proddie* leaders figure it out faster and better than the Catholic bishops did. A desire to keep things quiet and avoid scandals didn't exactly work out well for them...

Along those lines, and in light of our other recent conversations, I'd be interested to see what the operating definition of "Protestant" is for this article.

31 posted on 06/15/2007 10:37:57 AM PDT by Frumanchu (Jerry Falwell: Now a Calvinist in Glory)
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To: Frumanchu

For the purpose of that post, please see the footnote :)

I was thinking of you when I made it.


32 posted on 06/15/2007 11:01:17 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra ecclesiam nulla salus CINO-RINO GRAZIE NO)
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To: Frumanchu; markomalley

Fru, my experience in the military is that they wanted to view everything in Christianity that wasn’t catholic or orthodox as protestant.

Methodism came a couple hundred years after the reformation, so it’s ify whether one could agree with Wesley and include them in the reformation. The reformation churches, in my mind, should be the true definition of protestant.

It’s simply incorrect to view the Assembly of God or the Church of God, etc., as protestant. Some other label would be more appropriate: American Evangelical....something like that.


33 posted on 06/15/2007 11:11:39 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain And Proud of It! Those who support the troops will pray for them to WIN!)
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To: Between the Lines

If only they were allowed to get married.

Oh, wait, nevermind.


34 posted on 06/15/2007 11:13:15 AM PDT by NeoCaveman (http://dumplindseygraham.blogspot.com)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

I find it hard to believe that American Roman Catholics view the priest as other than just another joe. They might “like” for him to represent them well, but surely they know better than to think that he’s of a different nature than the rest of humanity.


35 posted on 06/15/2007 11:14:18 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain And Proud of It! Those who support the troops will pray for them to WIN!)
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To: Between the Lines

Wherever there are humans there will be sinners, whether or not it is reported.


36 posted on 06/15/2007 11:16:01 AM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: xzins; Alex Murphy
Fru, my experience in the military is that they wanted to view everything in Christianity that wasn’t catholic or orthodox as protestant.

That is a common mistake repeated over and over again by so many people. They assume that because the Protestant Reformation marked a departure from the Roman Catholic Church that any church not Roman Catholic (or Orthodox) is therefore Protestant, even though they bear little if any doctrinal resemblence to the Reformed churches.

Methodism came a couple hundred years after the reformation, so it’s ify whether one could agree with Wesley and include them in the reformation. The reformation churches, in my mind, should be the true definition of protestant.

Wesleyan Methodists would be considered borderline at best. Obviously there is little question about Whitefield Methodists.

It’s simply incorrect to view the Assembly of God or the Church of God, etc., as protestant. Some other label would be more appropriate: American Evangelical....something like that.

Agreed. Those churches really are not Protestant in any true sense of the word.

37 posted on 06/15/2007 11:26:52 AM PDT by Frumanchu (Jerry Falwell: Now a Calvinist in Glory)
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To: xzins
Thanks for the vote of confidence. A Catholic view of the matter should (I believe) look something like this:

My Pastor ... or any other priest ... or Bishop ... or Pope ... is, in and of himself, a sinful man as much in need of Jesus' saving Grace as you or I. And as even the most casual observer can tell, historically some of them have seemed to be far more Grace-filled than others. They are called (by God) to to an office of enormous responsibility, but also given the Grace (by God, though the Sacrament of Holy Orders) to fulfill that responsibility. What they do with it can be great or scandalous.

Yes, we believe that Holy Orders leaves an "indelible mark" on their soul ... but it doesn't make them anything other than human.

To suggest that we believe that the priest is some sort of half-divine superman is an egregious act of false witness.

38 posted on 06/15/2007 11:29:33 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is aborting, buggering, and contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

“And I give Thee thanks that I am not like other men — drunken, greedy, grasping, and sexually immoral — and not like that Romanist over there ...”


39 posted on 06/15/2007 11:52:35 AM PDT by Campion ("I am so tired of you, liberal church in America" -- Mother Angelica, 1993)
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To: xzins; Frumanchu; Dr. Eckleburg; markomalley; livius; ArrogantBustard; Suzy Quzy
Methodism came a couple hundred years after the reformation, so it’s ify whether one could agree with Wesley and include them in the reformation. The reformation churches, in my mind, should be the true definition of protestant.

It’s simply incorrect to view the Assembly of God or the Church of God, etc., as protestant. Some other label would be more appropriate: American Evangelical....something like that.

I agree. In my own mind, I tend to break down "Protestant" into categories of:

"Reformed/Protestant" (16th century, those that trace denominational and creedal roots back to the Reformation),
"Evangelical" (17th century, like xzins' Wesleyans/Methodists or the Baptists, largely anabaptist, that arose after the Reformed groups);
"Restorationist" (19th century, independent "first century style" churches / denominations that can be traced back to the Stone/Campbell movement in NY's Hudson River valley); and
"Charismatic" (20th century, any "Spirit-led" but anti-creedal church or denomination that followed or appeared alongside the Restorationists, but especially those that originated with the "baby boomer" generation i.e. the Calvary Chapel/Vineyard churches).

I'm honestly not sure where I'd place groups like the "emergent churches" or even the Warren / Osteen style megachurches. They lack the strong theological distinctives (Calvinism, creedalism) that characterizes the earlier groups, and the strong cultural distinctives (display of charismatic gifts, fierce cultural isolationism) that characterizes the later groups. I tend to think that they should get their own category, but I usually lump them under the "evangelical" label because they usually associate themselves with that group socially.

40 posted on 06/15/2007 12:03:23 PM PDT by Alex Murphy
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To: Alex Murphy

I would have difficulty lumping open theist churches in with evangelical churches.

I think a lot of the newer mega church leaders are closet open theists.


41 posted on 06/15/2007 12:07:36 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain And Proud of It! Those who support the troops will pray for them to WIN!)
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To: Between the Lines

Yep, sin will poke it’s head into a church. If the membership and leadership do not take action, soon sin has taken over. Sin must be purged from the midst of the church. If a perpetrator repents, then forgive them. . .but don’t put them into a position where they will have access to children ever again.


42 posted on 06/15/2007 12:08:04 PM PDT by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

I worked at the Archdiocese of Boston during the period of this movie, it’s the last thing I want to watch...especially if it (as I have heard) makes that lying slimball Garabedian the hero.


43 posted on 06/15/2007 12:11:32 PM PDT by Cheverus
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To: Alex Murphy

Having a married couple serve as co-leaders of the youth group (or the youth pastor and a married couple) helped avoid a lot of pitfalls. We weren’t so concerned about the youth leader or pastor doing something as having a trouble teen CLAIM that something happened.


44 posted on 06/15/2007 12:11:46 PM PDT by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: Alex Murphy

That’s a good step toward a set of “conversationally useful” terms ... thank you.


45 posted on 06/15/2007 12:12:18 PM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is aborting, buggering, and contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: xzins; All; blue-duncan; 1000 silverlings; pjr12345; P-Marlowe; Gamecock; HarleyD; ...
I find it hard to believe that American Roman Catholics view the priest as other than just another joe. They might "like" for him to represent them well, but surely they know better than to think that he's of a different nature than the rest of humanity.

Would that your statement were true. Sadly, it is not.

Check out this article written by a Roman Catholic theologian for a RCC publication...

THE AMAZING GIFT OF THE PRIESTHOOD

"By definition a priest is one who offers sacrifice. The Catholic Church teaches that the Mass is a sacrifice; it is, in a mystical sense, a re-presentation of the identical sacrifice that Jesus made of himself on the altar of the Cross on Calvary almost 2000 years ago...

...As St. Thomas Aquinas says, the proper task of the priest consists in being a mediator between God and men

...The Catholic faith teaches that the priest is another Christ, an alter Christus...

The Catholic priest is also a minister, but he is first and foremost a priest because he has been empowered by Christ to offer the sacrifice of the Mass for the salvation of all...

A Mass can be invalid for a number of reasons (we presuppose that the priest has been validly ordained): 1) because of a defect in the matter, for example, using sweet rolls instead of bread made only from wheat flour and water; 2) because of a defect in the form, for example, changing the words "This is my body" or "This is the cup of my blood" into something else; 3) because the priest positively excludes the intention to do what the Church does in offering Mass...

Thus, Masses offered by heretical priests, by schismatics, by Catholic priests who are plagued by doubts or who have false ideas about the Real Presence or transubstantiation, can be and probably usually are valid Masses. They must of course use the correct words of consecration, use wheat bread and wine made from grapes...

One becomes a priest through the power of Jesus Christ operating through the normal channels of his Church. Orders produce an ontological or real change in the one ordained. Once consecrated he is no longer a lay person and he is no longer exactly like non-priests. He has received a charism that consecrates him to continuing Christ's prophetic and sacramental ministry...

Simply stated, the Catholic priest is another Christ. Through his ordination he has been granted the amazing gift of being a channel of divine grace for the eternal salvation of those he come into contact with -- both in his official ministry and in his personal life...

He is a witness to transcendence both in what he is and what he does...

The priest is an alter Christus, another Christ. Msgr. Josemaria Escriva put it this way: "What is the identity of the priest? It is the identity of Christ himself."...

I suspect if we Protestants had said half these outrageous statements, we'd be criticized as malcontents who misunderstand and misstate the RCC and the magisterium.

46 posted on 06/15/2007 12:20:50 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: ArrogantBustard; CHAMPION; xzins
Yes, we believe that Holy Orders leaves an "indelible mark" on their soul ... but it doesn't make them anything other than human.

Not according to the link I posted in #46 written in an RC publication by a RC priest, author and apologist --

"Orders produce an ontological or real change in the one ordained."

47 posted on 06/15/2007 12:25:57 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Between the Lines
A victims' advocacy group has said the Southern Baptists, the nation's largest Protestant denomination, could do more to prevent abuse by creating a list of accused clergy the public and churches could access.

Hard to argue this..

48 posted on 06/15/2007 12:30:34 PM PDT by N3WBI3 (Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak....)
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To: markomalley

A small church I attended had a situation where there was something odd and they swept it under the Rug, I was pretty peeved. Another Church I attended had something happened which was not criminal, nor was it physically sexual, but it was inappropriate.

The Church went right to the congregation and told them in as much detail as is appropriate something happened and removed the pastor suspending him indefinitely only allowing him to consider returning after completing years of spiritual counseling.


49 posted on 06/15/2007 12:34:26 PM PDT by N3WBI3 (Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak....)
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To: ArrogantBustard
That’s a good step toward a set of “conversationally useful” terms ... thank you.

You're welcome. While far from perfect, I find it makes for a good "predicter" of what to expect in the areas of theology, eschatology, apologetics, worship, and culture, once you've identified what church/group a particular person belongs to.

50 posted on 06/15/2007 12:35:55 PM PDT by Alex Murphy
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