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Another Form of Abuse

How does a good parent correct a disobedient child? Yelling? Screaming? Shaming? Abusing? Most of us would say no to each of these. We all know deep down how to correct a child (even if we fail to do it). Can a parent ever raise their voice? Yes, if it is self controlled and the children know it is so. This is how we express the gravity of something. Yet, if a wrathful action or cruel punishment accompanies the raised voice, then it does not come across as anything other than abuse, and it rarely helps the child to correct his behavior (and they will repeat it when they grow up).

In summary, we do not correct something by attacking it. We attack that which is a threat and is dangerous to ourselves or others. We attack things because we want to damage or harm it (which is necessary sometimes in situations of self-defense). If, however, we wish to correct something we approach it with cautious but clear direction. We come and take it "by the hand" and lovingly point out the error with a firm conviction of the need for correction (and never compromise the truth).

I have heard stories, seen firsthand, and read in the news about clergy who do not understand this basic principle of leadership. Far too many people have told me stories about "I left the Church when a Priest treated me badly". Yes, some people need to grow a backbone (even Jesus offended people -- a lot of people!), but that does not mean that it is ok for clergy to attack their people that they want to correct.

Many Priests (not to mention quite a few Bishops and an occasional Pope) are more concerned with controlling people than they are with helping people. Yes, clergy are called to lead, but even St. Peter told his clergy, do so "not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock" (1 Peter 5:3). They did not, however, learn this domineering attitude in a vacuum. Many (if not all) learned this in the home when they were growing up. Anyone can overcome a bad upbringing, but parents need to work to exemplify the discipline of Christ with their children. Remember parents, some of your boys will grow up to be Deacons, Priests, Bishops, and maybe even a Pope. Teach them correctly now, and prepare them to be the generation to turn things around in the Church!


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