As Catholic church abuse scandals continue to emerge worldwide, there is a new way that that those in positions of authority, but who are not ordained priests, are taking advantage of their parishioners. Kathryn Joyce has a piece on Religion Dispatches this morning.
In 2008, when Katia Birge, a U.S.-born journalist and translator now living in Mexico, was 25, she says she became a victim of sex abuse in the Denver Archdiocese of the Catholic Church. But after a decade of explosive sex abuse scandals, most prominently involving minor children, Birge’s story doesn’t fit the recognized narrative. She was already an adult when it happened, and her alleged attacker is not an ordained member of the clergy.
As Church demographics continue to change, with a growing number of Latino church-goers in the US, the Church has been hiring out, so to speak.
Hernandez was just one of an increasing number of lay ministers and volunteers assuming formerly clerical roles in the Catholic Church, particularly in heavily Latino parishes, such as Denver’s. Facing a general shortage of priests, and a critical lack of ordained staff equipped to serve Spanish-speaking communities, a papal dictate was issued in 2003, calling for an expanded role for laity in the church’s ministry.