As I was straightening up one of my bookshelves in the office I came across this, a letter sent to a standing bishops dated May 13, 2010;
Here are some things you may want to consider regarding the current unpleasantness surrounding the clergy sexual abuse scandal in the Church. Taking this entire situation to prayer, to spiritual direction and to therapy I have some conclusions and connection that I believe are inspired by God.
When individuals first approached the members of the Church hierarchy, and those in their employ, with allegations of abuse, (or at the very least unseemly behavior), they were ignored, not believed, disparaged, threatened, some combination of those things and ultimately silenced. Therefore some victims of abuse retained lawyers in an attempt to be heard by Church hierarchy. Sadly it seems when there are assets are involved then the weak are listened too. Would lawyers have become involved if the problems were dealt with as they arose? I think a case could be made that lawyers would not have been involved.
The reaction and inaction seems puzzling because it is the antithesis of what the Church really stands for, that is, the Gospel of Christ.
Ugly things have been said by both sides on this issue. Unfortunately even more negative things have been added by third parties who have a negative agenda that is not congruent with the moral authority given to us by God. That said, here are perceptions of what Catholic mouthpieces have put forth, from a victim/survivor of clergy sexual abuse, one who has worked extensively with an array of abuse victims.
- Wanting to be heard and acknowledged by the hierarchy of the Church is not in and of itself anti-Catholic. Please don’t go there.
- Citing diocesan need to hold onto money for charitable works is an insult. It suggests that helping victims of abuse is not a charitable work.
- Putting forth the viability of Catholic Schools is as important in the mission of the Church as helping to heal the psychological wreckage imposed by clergy et.al. is also insulting and hurtful
- Shifting the blame of the scope of the scandal onto the media and disparaging lawyers who have been retained by victims is a red herring and takes the focus off of what the real problem has been. This tactic also encourages the faithful in the pews to attack victims.
Many, if not most, of the victims are or were active baptized members of the Church therefore they are part of the body of Christ. There are some members of the body of Christ who now hate God, (wrongly), for what was done to them and the uncaring, (sometimes vicious), reaction of the hierarchy. As you are aware God is all too often blamed for bad things and the sins of man.
Because of this fracture in the Body of Christ it behooves us to actively seek out those members of the body who can be considered lost sheep. It is vital that we seek them out, minister to them and if possible to bring them back to our glorious Church…or at least to the point where they don’t hate God any longer. Causing someone so much pain that they now hate God is a sin I cannot fathom.
The ministry of seeking the lost sheep and reconciling them with the Church should be the number one, most important thing that we do as a Church at this time in history. In the gospel Jesus seeks out the lost sheep. He heals them as our loving, compassionate, merciful brother and God. That is the outreach work that is mandated by love. That is the outreach work that is mandated by the example we have in Christ. Abandoning lost sheep is anathema to Jesus.
For now this needs to be the only charitable work of the Church. Everything else is chaff. Taking responsibility for driving some people out of the Church and taking responsibility to reconcile them teaches people more about the love of God, love that should be reflected by the Church, than any school ever could.
There are no other diocesan considerations as vital and as essential as this. God will provide for the Church. Things, assets, money are not important…people and the salvation of souls is what is important.
In Our Merciful Savior
Reverend John Lunness
That letter was written in 2010. What has happened with the curse of sexual abuse? Or more importantly what is the perception of what has been done? The perception is that nothing has happened. Ahhh, but the devil has been at work. Ireland had the same, (probably worse), clergy sexual scandal and NOTHING was done, at least nothing of significance.
Now, the Catholic Church in Ireland is in a shambles. How can we ask people to believe that the Church is morally right on any issue when the Church, at least the men at her helm, have been immoral on a global stage when it comes to the clergy sexual abuse situation? (Forget for a moment the fact that the faith has been disregarded by some prelates.) The truly faithful are left asking, what’s going on? You reap what you sew, what has been sewn is deceit, immorality and evil by men in the Church who should know better. What is being reaped is sodomy as an acceptable life style, abortion as a ‘choice’, and euthanasia as a brave and noble endeavor. What has been denied is that sodomy cannot and is not life giving, and abortion and euthanasia actually destroy life.
Just because something can be done doesn’t mean it should be done.