It wasn’t a surprise in any way. We know it’s been brewing for years, and what came out last night in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is simply another chapter in a tragedy that’s been unfolding before our eyes. If you’re one of the few who doesn’t know the details of Archbishop Gomez’ release of documents from the abuse scandals and his personal letter, Rocco’s got the best rundown I’ve seen. I’d encourage you to read the full letter by Archbishop Gomez and to look personally at the files released by the Archdiocese.
Catholic bloggers — and indeed anyone who calls themselves “Catholic” — are left to ponder what we can possibly add to the conversation, but more importantly how we pick up the pieces and serve the victims. For me, this tragedy hits home personally. I grew up in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and was educated in her Catholic schools. Along with reading the official statement, I spent the past hour reading the official file of a pedophile priest who served my family parish, someone who was indeed quite close to our family.
Of course this story is not a surprise to me — I’ve watched it play out over the years and end in multiple tragedies for several of the players involved. But reading the official documents, even with names redacted to protect the innocent and the victims, brought me a feeling of nausea so tangible that I had to finally close them and step away. I simply can’t fathom how the abused — those upon whom such horrible acts were perpetrated — must be feeling today. Surely there is a sense of vindication for them, and yet their tales of tragedy — opened fully for perhaps the first time and set on public display — must undoubtedly reopen terrible wounds that have been festering for such a very long time.
So I ask myself today, how do we move forward without ever forgetting? How do we serve those broken-hearted souls who were so tragically victimized by the very institution they likely most trusted? How do we — you and I — assure restitution, healing and change?
Today, I don’t have any answers, only tears, grief, and prayers.