CINews columnist Thomas Tarurongo Wynne replies:

Tuesday August 08, 2017 Published in Letters to the Editor

Firstly, thank you Natasha for your response.


As with any piece of writing there are other points of view that are also correct and also add value to the truth of any matter. I, for one, would never assume that my opinion or experience is everyone else’s experience. This topic evokes deep emotional responses and I was mindful of that when I wrote it.

It may be truth for you and your church that none of these social ills are avoided by your community, though I am again struggling to find a letter in response to anything by yourself protesting the plight of the victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence that you clearly have come across and ably ministered to.

Your being vocal about these issues may touch the four walls of your church building but sadly I cannot find that same voice in the public domain. I have written many times on sexual abuse and the victims of violence in the paper, and yet this is your first letter agreeing or disagreeing to anything I have written.

The identity of church leaders who have committed some of these heinous crimes is sadly part of the sanctity of my role as counsellor and yes, though it may come as a shock to you, we have had people in the Church holding positions of responsibility who have committed crimes against the young, the vulnerable and the weak. For examples, you only need to look at news stories involving the Catholic and Pentecostal churches worldwide, with scandal after scandal involving clergy and pastors who have preyed upon those they were called to protect. This is fact, not heresy.

I could not single any groups out or betray the confidentiality of my clients so unfortunately I had to speak in general terms. If that was offensive I apologise, as it was not meant to cast a dim light on all, but just the few.

You say that true love establishes boundaries and brings accountability, which is correct, though you seem to ignore and fail to mention the true love found in grace, forgiveness and God’s unconditional love that builds the bridge so we can cross over to the place of boundaries, safety and accountability that you speak of. Is it not that he loved us first that compels us to him and brings the change our hearts’ needs and desires?

In my role as a counsellor, which I still carry out here in Rarotonga and over 10 years of listening to the heartbreaking stories of the broken you speak about, naivety is something I am not guilty of. In fact, the reality of lives broken is always before me and in my prayers to He who has all the answers we both speak of and seek for ourselves and for others.

I do not condone liberal moral corruption, but also will not remain quiet about those who have been given the responsibility to speak for those that do not have a voice, who then sit on their hands and say nothing.

Thank you again for your courage and your letter and I appreciate your perspective and point of view.

            Thomas Tarurongo Wynne

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