Poor, poor protector of child rapists.

Roger Mahoney, the Los Angeles Cardinal who protected child rapists, got caught, and still gets to be one of eleven Cardinals in the United States who gets to vote on the next Pope, is feeling humiliated.  He’s even got a blog post about how noble that makes him.

But as disciples of Jesus Christ, we are actually called to the fullness of humility: humiliation, and publicly.

Today’s Gospel gives us the stark reality and immediate challenge: “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” {Luke 9:23] Daily means each and every day, not now and then on our faith journeys, and on our terms.

That desire flows from our lips so easily, but we seldom mean it fully and internally. It’s almost a spiritual throw-away for us. But Jesus means it so deeply.

Given all of the storms that have surrounded me and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles recently, God’s grace finally helped me to understand: I am not being called to serve Jesus in humility. Rather, I am being called to something deeper–to be humiliated, disgraced, and rebuffed by many.

I was not ready for this challenge. Ash Wednesday changed all of that, and I see Lent 2013 as a special time to reflect deeply upon this special call by Jesus.

To be honest with you, I have not reached the point where I can actually pray for more humiliation. I’m only at the stage of asking for the grace to endure the level of humiliation at the moment.

In the past several days, I have experienced many examples of being humiliated. In recent days, I have been confronted in various places by very unhappy people. I could understand the depth of their anger and outrage–at me, at the Church, at about injustices that swirl around us.

Thanks to God’s special grace, I simply stood there, asking God to bless and forgive them.

Gag me.  Ed Brayton demolishes it in a single paragraph better than I ever could.

Yes, Cardinal, it’s all about you. It’s not about the children who were raped and had their lives destroyed because you deliberately chose to protect the criminals that victimized them. It’s all about you and how terribly humiliated you feel by having your own crimes made public. But you shouldn’t be thanking God, you should be thanking the local prosecutor, who has not indicted you even though your crimes of aiding and abetting and engaging in a conspiracy to cover up the most heinous crimes imaginable have been made clear by documents from within your own office. You should feel damn lucky that the only thing you’re getting is hostile comments from people in a grocery store. You should be in prison, you sick bastard.

Very few things inspire me to give an amen.  But god damn, that sure did.

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.


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