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.)