In this current crisis I believe our primary response must now be a refocusing on the teachings of Christ. While understanding that in our current world we must contend with a complex array of legalities, we must always respond with love, which is at the very core of our Christianity.
Dealing with the repercussions of abuse by our own clergy is a new experience and one which we are all trying to come to terms with and respond to as best we can.
I believe there needs to be the formation of a small committee of dedicated, practising, praying Catholics who have some experience in the area of sexual abuse and its post-traumatic effects.
I am sure that working parties have previously been formed regarding these issues. However, it would appear that their well-meaning focus on legal correctness and monetary compensation has overshadowed our Christian response of love.
I believe a more Christ-like answer would revolve around the training of teams of praying, volunteer Catholics within each diocese who would form support groups for the victims of sexual abuse by Church clergy or associates. These people would not provide or replace counselling as such, but would serve as a place of love and support.
The provision of monetary compensation is one aspect which requires much reviewing. Too often money is provided to victims who, due to their vulnerable condition, will use it to accelerate their spiral of self-destruction. Perhaps areas such as Trust Funds (managed), delayed payments or regular payments of smaller amounts could be considered.
Whatever the specific details, the response of our Church must be one of love. While we must be guided by the realities of the society in which we live, we must never compromise on our call to love. We must begin from the very foundation on which we are built and ask: What would Jesus do?