Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Southern Baptists address the scandal in the Catholic Church, from the Las Vegas SUN:

Baptists Speak of Catholic Scandal At the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting, some speakers warned delegates against passing judgment as Catholic bishops prepare to discuss what to do with sex-offending priests.

"We shouldn't enjoy this Catholic mess too much," the Rev. Bobby Welch, pastor of First Baptist Church of Daytona Beach, Fla., said Sunday during a service sponsored in St. Louis by the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists. "We're waiting on the other shoe to drop, and when it does, don't be surprised if there is more and more within our ranks."

The Conference of Catholic Bishops is scheduled to meet in Dallas later this week to discuss policies regarding priests who sexually abuse youngsters. The discussion is expected to focus on calls for zero-tolerance for priests who molest children in the future and a second-chance policy for those guilty of past abuse.

It is difficult to estimate the number of abusive Protestant ministers. While Catholic churches answer to a central authority, in the Baptist denomination and other Protestant faiths, each local church handles such allegations.

Southern Baptist officials expect some kind of resolution to be presented this week concerning sexual misconduct by clergy in the 16-million-member denomination.