Monday, March 29, 2010

Not Nearly Enough

As far as headlines go, last week was a bad one for the Catholic Church. There’s no need to sugarcoat it.

I have been struggling with whether or not to comment on the reports out of Wisconsin and Munich, as well as the continuing story in Ireland.

To be honest, I feel inadequate to the task. I have not had time to personally read through the historical correspondence that has driven the reports (much of which is available on-line).

Also, to me, the Catholic Church is far more than an "institution" or "organization." It's a family of believers. What do you say when harm is caused within a family? What do you say when it appears that harm may have been swept under the rug by other family members?

I am praying for those who were abused as children, and for their loved ones. They should be our primary concern. I wish those commenting would expend more words on what these cases of abuse have done to these people and their faith lives.

I do know that I won't be joining the ranks of those seeking to minimize the poor administrative decisions and lack of oversight by Church leaders regarding the abusers of children. A crime is a crime regardless of how many decades ago it took place.

I have appreciated the thoughtful comments on these matters from Fr. Jim, A Concord Pastor, Fran, Mike and The Anchoress.

Ross Douthat gets it right, too:

... the crisis of authority endures. There has been some accountability for the abusers, but not nearly enough for the bishops who enabled them. And now the shadow of past sins threatens to engulf this papacy.

Popes do not resign. But a pope can clean house. And a pope can show contrition, on his own behalf and on behalf of an entire generation of bishops, for what was done and left undone in one of Catholicism’s darkest eras.

This is Holy Week, when the first pope, Peter, broke faith with Christ and wept for shame. There is no better time for repentance.

This morning, in an unrelated post, Kim posted a photo of a meeting of Dorothy Day and Mother Teresa. I found another image on-line that looks to be from the same day (see both below).

These photos are a reminder that the Church is more than the pope and the bishops. These two great 20th century Catholic women made an impact on the Church and the world without ever wearing a miter or chairing a chancery meeting.

What would Dorothy and Teresa say this week?

I’m encouraged by the hope that they are in heaven praying for the Church they loved and served on earth.

(That's Eileen Egan on the left in both photos. According to an on-line source, these were taken in the Maryhouse office in New York City on June 17, 1979.)


Philomena Ewing said...

Hi from Cornwall in the UK.
I like your post and it is well said. Fran and Concord Pastor have both linked to my blog on this (See Blue Eyed Ennis) for my posts over the last week. Also, Ron Rolheiser has provided what seems to be the most quoted comment on several Catholic Blogs that helps us all try and feel a way forward. He wrote it some time ago and I wonder if he knows the value it has recently acquired in the blogosphere ?!
Do you think we will get any more comments from the Pope at the Chrism Mass this Thursday ?
God Bless and hope you have a Holy Holy Week, if ya know what I mean!

Waldie said...

have been thinking of calling or emailing you about this. as a Catholic who works toward the end of sexual violence i find this situation especially difficult. i appreciate you saying something about this. i look forward to reading the links you posted. have you seen what john allen wrote in a nyt op ed over the weekend (
guess it made me feel a little better. but it's still pretty overwhelming to me.

Bernie said...

Paul I do appreciate your honesty and direct approach to this situation....I do think you have made some great suggestions as well, I am praying so hard to the church I love. I keep telling myself this abuse and silence was and is a man made sin not the Catholic Church......:-) Hugs

Fran said...

Thank you for posting this... so well put Paul. And Philomena has provided that quote from Rolheiser that has been a life raft for so many of us - including Deacon Greg in his homily on Sunday and for me when I offer a reflection at Evening Prayer tonight.

Go to my FB page or to the Politics Daily Page and see the piece from there by Jason Berry. I think that you know that the editor of PD is Melinda Henneberger - a Catholic and a contributor to Commonweal; David Gibson writes for them too. I say this because they are not just another anti-Catholic mouthpiece.

We are on the Via Dolorosa this week, we are.

Fran from work