What the Catholic Church Scandal Taught Me About Protecting My Tribe

What the Catholic Church Scandal Taught Me About Protecting My Tribe September 6, 2018

The Grand Jury report is horrific. Over a period of 70 years, more 1000 children were sexually abused in Pennsylvania. The details are mind-boggling and disgusting.

But what’s even more shameful is the systematic way these crimes were covered up internally by leadership. Priests were often shuffled to other parishes, or in some cases, promoted. The cases were never referred for prosecution, allowing the guilty to go unpunished and the victims to live with the shame and guilt without any closure.

I don’t want to simply pile on the Catholic Church. They are a large institution with more than a billion adherents. The actions of a few don’t condemn the whole. I’ve spoken often about the broad-brush of guilt on these pages and I wont start painting guilt on every Catholic. I know lots of genuine, God-loving Catholics who are mortified by these allegations.

Protecting Our Own

Instead, I want us to look at each other and ourselves. What are we doing to protect our own? What excuses are we making so our tribe isn’t brought into disrepute?

There is a tendency to overlook weakness of others who agree with us because we are afraid it will sweep us up in the dragnet of guilt.

How many molesting teachers, Boy Scout Troop leaders, and preschool workers have been given a pass by insiders simply because they were part of the group?

And think about how we give tribal allowance to those in our political sphere? Antifa is terrorist thuggery, showing every sign of anarchy. But some Democrats give them a pass because they harass conservatives. And fringe supremacist groups who embrace President Trump aren’t called out by Republicans because they are a reliable vote.

Everyday political passes are given out to those who cheat, lie and scam. It’s on both sides and we should never be afraid to call out our own.

Within the Catholic scandal are charges the pope protected former Washington Archbishop allowing him to assume a cardinal. But the media is not piling on the Pope because he shares many of their core left beliefs.  Protect the tribe.

And many of the abuses were both pedophiliac and homosexual in nature , but the tribe must protect the wall that separates those two.

Photo by D. Rupert

Exposure is good

Exposure doesn’t mean shouting someone down on social media. In fact, it’s done this way.

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”  —  Matthew 18

This almost seems quaint in this day of public shaming.

Jesus continues,

“For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.”

I know this personally. Over the years I have hidden secret sins — some minor, some not so minor. And in every case, they eventually were exposed.

In my situation, it ended up being healthy, as I found repentance and forgiveness. In the case of the Catholic church, they will change their accountability practices in the local churches. While we run from the embarrassment of the situation, if we lean into it, we will find healing.

We will never fix our organization, our political party, our church if we try to make excuses for the inexcusable.

And we will never heal if we make excuses for ourselves.

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