Connections: faith-love-death clergy sexual abuse

The more I live the more I learn.  A professor in the seminary once told the class that things are all connected.  I really see that in scripture and especially between the old and new testaments. 

It is trying constantly to relate all things to God, to God’s love, that seems to be so hard.  Recently the Osama/Usama Bin Laden death became for me another moment of teaching from God about all the connections with and too our faith.

I was in the seminary at Seton Hall when the 09/11 attacks occurred.  The Twin Towers had been clearly visible from the top of the parking garage.  Because of Seaton Hall’s proximity to New York there were plenty of students on campus with loved ones who worked at the Twin Towers.   After the attack caious ensued.  The campus was locked down, no one could come or go.  There where kids running around everywhere desperately trying to get a hold of relatives on their cell phones for news about loved ones. 

That night the F-16 fighter jets could be heard in fly overs patrolling both New York and the Newark airport.  On tv the next day were video’s of Palestinian men and boys celebrating the death and destruction in America.  It was maddening.

When the death of Osama was reported people in the U.S. cheered his death.  It is NEVER appropriate to cheer death.  There were people who cheered the death of Jesus Christ.  They were wrong too.  It is true that Jesus is about love and Osama was about hate but the celebration of death is not appropriate.  It cheapens all life.  It is not Pro-Life.

Then I had a moment of clarity making the connection with this inappropriate celebration of death and the inappropriate response of bishops and other hierarchy to the clergy sexual abuse scandal.  It is NEVER o.k. to blame the victims… …NEVER!!!

Yet that has happened again and again and again in the Church.  Some of the insulting, insensitive and offensive things said that have come forth from the Church; It’s a shame that parishioners have to pay for something that happened 40, 50, (add your own number), years ago.  What is truly a shame is that those parishioners are victims of the same inept handling of predatory priests in the first place.  And acting as if the passage of time would somehow lessen the impact of the molestation on an individual is ludicrous.  The implication of the statement that it is a shame that parishioners have to pay shows a total lack of understanding of the issue of clergy sexual abuse even though the hierarchy claims to “get it”.  Victims that have come forward are set up as the bad guys and made to look like they are taking money  from the faithful.  It causes animosity toward victims and makes them victims again.  That is not what someone who “gets it”, does.  The same is true when it is said that schools have to close because of victim settlements, Charitable activities have to be decreased, etcetera.  Again, although it is subtle, it is an attack on victims.  All it does is fuel the animosity toward victims. 

The hierarchy in the Church are the ones who made this the mess it is.  The hierarchy of the Church needs to take/acknowledge their responsibility in all of this and not say things that can be taken by the other faithful as blaming victims and their lawsuits.   The money awarded is because of what and how the bishops responded to the crises.  They must humbly accept the blame…eat crow…exhibit remorse.    Not sow the seeds of discontent.  And it will be then that the clergy and hierarchy will demonstrate that they do “get it”. 

Again it is an issue of respect for life.

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About follow1in3

I am a Roman Catholic priest ordained for the Diocese of Wilmington, DE who is also a victim of clergy sexual abuse. I am often angered by the insensitiviy and hostility of other clergy, the hierarchy and the so-called people-of-God. If clergy, bishops included, really and truly understood abuse, (any kind of abuse), I would not feel the need to blog on occasion. It is very frustraing.
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