Thinking about God in all the mess that has become known as clergy sexual abuse I wonder what it is that God is thinking. I have been very lucky in being able to separate my own experience with being molested from faith, God, religion etc. There are so many victims, (I prefer that term because abuse is all-encompassing), who were not able to separate the priest who molested them from the God who created them. God’s all-encompassing love is infinite, a constant in our lives, it is so important to tell victims that, and to tell them God did not molest them, want them to be molested, or cause them to be molested. Inevitably the question is posed, “Why didn’t God stop the molester? Why did God let it happen?” There is an easy answer to those questions; The free will, which we all have as a gift from God, caused the person who molested to molest. Alas that is a far from satisfying answer to those in pain, even if it is the truth.
But what about those who have been sexually abused by priests who do blame God? What about the priests themselves? And what about the bishops who didn’t do enough or who didn’t do anything at all to help victims? How can a bishop justify doing nothing to stop wayward priests from sexually abusing children? The thing most often heard from the bishops and diocesan offices is that they were avoiding scandal. (Well that worked out really well didn’t it.) I have to ask why that, avoiding scandal, was held as a priority over the people who were victimized by clergy. When did it become O.K. to disregard the weak, voiceless, victims and their families? That is the antithesis of Catholicism. That is the antithesis of the teachings of Jesus. People were being cheated by money changers in the temple, he was upset. In the parable of the good Samaritan the lesson was aiding the injured man was more important than staying ritually clean or feeling superior to others at their detriment. There is no way to justify the Church’s reluctance to take responsibility for the actions of molesting priests and their cleric, including bishops, enablers.