Can Religious Institutions Survive the Sexual Scandals of Clergy?

January 20, 2011 :: Tad Mitsui
Moderated by Amy Dodic

The sexual scandals of some priests in the Roman Catholic Church make big news but are extremely distressing to the faithful. The Roman Catholics are not alone in their distress though. Nearly every religious institution in Canada has faced the fallibility of their human leaders. Some formerly faithful people claim the scandals have pushed them away from organized religions and we have seen church attendance plummet over the last few decades. There is no question that the sexual crimes of clergy must be punished, but can the exposure of these failures of the clergy and administration ultimately be good for religion?
The speaker will argue that it is good the problem is now being exposed because it reveals the truth about human nature: power corrupts most of us. The sexual crimes of clergy and the scandals about their cover up have forced the churches to examine the power of the clergy and the role of the church hierarchy. Those same scandals have convinced the majority of people to pull the clergy class and the church hierarchy down from the false pedestal they have stood on for many centuries. No human should have so much power over another that these crimes can be perpetrated.

Speaker: Tadashi Mitsui (Tad)

Tad was born in Japan, did his undergraduate education in Theology in Tokyo and his graduate work in Vancouver and Montreal. He taught at a university in Lesotho, Southern Africa, worked in international development agencies in Geneva, Switzerland, and in Toronto, and was in an administrative position within the United Church bureaucracy in Montreal. Tad is a retired United Church minister.

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