Dear Inner Circle,

In the café yesterday I saw a young fellow, who had cooked his brain, walk around aimlessly picking up items that clearly didn’t belong to him. It didn’t look like his intention was to steal but rather it looked like he had no idea what he was picking up or why. Eventually, someone noticed that their coat was in the possession of this kid who seemed to be laying it out on a table as if to iron it perhaps. Naturally, all hell broke loose. Our staff were on it quickly but it provided a genuinely distressing few moments. I was sitting with a bloke who I’d not seen in some time but our conversation had to end in such an anxious atmosphere. Everything settled and the bloke next to me said, “I love Wayside because you get dinner and a show”.

Rarely am I in a state of shock but the revelations from the church about sexual crimes against children have caught me off balance. The world that I knew changed this week as it was revealed by the church that up to 40% of people in one religious Order could be considered to be predators. In other religious Orders the estimate was 20%. I just can’t seem to regain my balance. I’ve been inclined to defend the church because I’ve known hundreds of nuns and priests who have served humanity with their whole selves, embodying all that is finest and inspiring in their roles of teachers, philosophers, social workers and chaplains. I have two academic degrees from Catholic institutions and I will be forever grateful for the depth of love and the incalculable gift of philosophy, theology and history poured into me by masters in their fields.

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