1If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? 2Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church? 5I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6But instead, one brother takes another to court—and this in front of unbelievers! 1Corinthians 6:1-6
Contrary to what some may believe this texts refers to believers suing other believers in the courts of law. This has absolutely nothing to do with actual crimes and criminal offenses that are normally handled by the law. For example I don't think that any amount of brotherly love or prayer is going to reform a so called brother in church who comitts murder. Or as is so common today is involved in child molestation. For as long as I can remember sexual immorality has always been a problem in the church. I am not speaking about the Catholic church exclusively but about the church in general across all denominations.
I personally knew a pastor in the Pentecostal faith who was having affairs with some of the female members of his church. He was married and when his wife found out she left him, the church, and to my knowledge never looked back. Ultimately I dont know what happened to the pastor because even when his wife left him this dirt bag continued to lead his flock although when he was exposed he lost some members. Televangelist Jimmy Swaggart got caught on one occassion with a mess of porn magazines in his vehicle during a routine stop and on another occassion picking up a prostitute.
I believe that for the most part when ministers, priests, etc. start molesting young people in the church that the church is more concerned about protecting its public image then protecting its flock. It's even more offensive because a person of authority whom members of the church view as a holy man of the cloth abuses this positions authority and the trust that is put on them. Who can you trust if not a so called man of God? You leave your children with them thinking that they are learning about the word of God and how to serve the Lord only to find out later that they were being molested for years. Also, not many victims speak up till years later because they fear that they will not be believed. Their parents trust the good reverend unconditionally and in most cases are known to attack their own childrens trust blindly because of their erroneous beliefs about the ministers reputation.
§130.75 Course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree.A person is guilty of course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree when, over a period of time not less than three months in duration:
(a) he or she engages in two or more acts of sexual conduct, which includes at least one act of sexual intercourse, oral sexual conduct, anal sexual conduct or aggravated sexual contact, with a child less than eleven years old; or
(b) he or she, being eighteen years old or more, engages in two or more acts of sexual conduct, which include at least one act of sexual intercourse, oral sexual conduct, anal sexual conduct or aggravated sexual contact, with a child less than thirteen years old.(Eff.11/1/03,Ch.264,L.2003)
The above mentioned legal statutes refer to sexual misconduct in my home state of New York. I have linked to that page which elaborates on various statutes in our law books that refer specifically to sexual assault and misconduct. Other people will refer to the little clause in the first ammendment that states:" Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances"
This ammendment to the Bill of Rights of course does not refer to criminal activity in the church whether it's sexual misconduct, white color crimes etc. Crimes are to be handled by the proper authorities and the position of a church in a community should be irrelevant. In a court of law whether you are a reverend or the Pope if you commit a crime you should be tried like a criminal. I think that because of your position of authority that the law should be even more tougher on you than it would be towards a regular citizen who committed the same crime. Romans chapter 13 actually supports my argument that the law should handle matters of the law.
1Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. Romans 13:1-3
Note: All biblical citations are taken from the New International version of the scriptures. All other sources have been linked to within the text.