I have let this ruminate for several days, making connections, searching for reasons based on my own story, telling myself over and over that EVERYONE has a back story and basically wrestling with what seems to be a hateful, hate filled homily given by our Holy Father regarding a young cleric that he knows nothing about, even if he thinks he does, basing a judgement on an outward fondness for traditional clerical clothing.
The first question that comes to my mind is what happened to, and when did it happen to, Pope Francis to make him so hostile to the outward appearance of a, “young”, cleric. Who is it who dressed like that and hurt Pope Francis so deeply? There has to be something bad in the history of the pontiff that caused his over-the-top reaction and subsequent homily. Merciful? No. Loving? Not really. What is it that made Jorge Mario Bergoglio react that way, because it wasn’t a normal reaction?
And how does that effect the wider question of the Church and abuse? Honestly if my abuser were more into clerical clothing and less into getting his rocks off I would have been safe. He was not and I was not. When I look at what I call an over reaction on the pope’s part and what I would deem as a less than nice lashing out at some unfortunate cleric I see abuse.
What does that say to members of the hierarchy and the rest of the members of the Body of Christ? Nothing good I’m afraid. Abusive language and behavior have been enshrined in the Church by the pope himself. I really do not believe that was his intention but that is what I see. As an individual who was abused physically by a cleric I take my backstory with me always. My own backstory of abuse is the filter I am using to measure the reaction of Pope Francis.
There are many people in the Church who have abuse as a backstory. Some of us have the physical abuse that colors our perception of things. And there are people who have verbal abuse by a cleric or someone connected to the Church as their filter. Both kinds of those abuses are also spiritual abuses…some categorize it as soul murder.
So I wonder if the young cleric in traditional clothing knows that it was him who was excoriated unjustly by the pope who does not know him from Adam in an over-the-top homily that got world wide attention? That would be abuse that is soul murdering. Is there any hope for those who have been abused by representatives of the Church when the leader of the Church adds to the deposit of hate? I’m sad for all of us who have experienced abuse in the Church, it never seems that it will get any better.