Christ came to redeem the earth, to purify it from its filth. One way he sought to do this was to launch a spiritual reformation, and for this reason, he consistently opposed the shameful actions and attitudes of authorities in his day. As a result, he was often accused of being a sinner because he was a friend to sinners who were looked down upon by the authorities (cf. Matt. 11:19), or worse, he was said to be demon possessed (cf. Matt. 12:22-32).
Those who like to Lord it over others as they prompt themselves up as being better than everyone else cannot stand anyone who challenges them, revealing to others as well as to themselves, their inner depravity. Instead of heeding what is said to them, they often became agitated and bitter, vainly fighting and contending against those who expose their grave faults to the world. Certainly not all faults need to be exposed; many are private and should be kept private, especially if and when those faults can be easily rectified and others have suffered little to no harm as a result of them. But grave faults which greatly wound others need to be called out. Those who have been harmed need to be acknowledged and helped. Those who have harmed others not only need to repent, but they need to repair the harm which they have done.
It is in this light that it should not be surprising that what has been revealed about Christendom and Franciscan Universities has lit up a firestorm, causing malicious calumny to be written about those who have exposed the great evil being done on those (and other similar) campuses. Both Christendom and Franciscan have promoted themselves as conservative, traditional, “authentic” Catholic universities which faithful Catholics should send their children over and against other Catholic institutions which are often portrayed as unfaithful if not outright heretical. The reputation, the status, which these universities enjoy is in question, and so, to defend it, there are all kinds of abuse leveled at those who have revealed what they have discovered going on at these institutions.
The rhetoric which is used to dismiss legitimate and important concerns demonstrates how quick those who love their reputation over truth are quick to demonize their opponents instead of work for reform. That old bugbear, George Soros, is consistently brought out as the “source” of “unjust attacks,” with the claim that criticism of these universities represents an attack on the Catholic faith itself (ironically, attacks coming from professors at these universities against Pope Francis are ignored if not praised). Also, just like Jesus was criticized for his association, these attacks use similar ad hominem criticisms of those who write against Christendom or Franciscan, as a way to ignore the issue at hand and attack the messenger.
Many present and former students at these universities have discussed and explained why these concerns are real. There is a cultural problem at work, as many so-called traditionalists denigrate the place of women and silence their abuse, which is why many women often end up feeling this is normal and do nothing to end the cycle of abuse. Likewise, abuse in general by those deemed as superior to everyone else tends to be overlooked. This is exactly the problem which prevailed for so long in the ranks of Catholic clergy, explaining how and why so much sexual abuse was covered up in the past. Thankfully, there are now those who are used to being told to deny all such claims, to ignore them, indeed, to attack the messenger; who have come to see the evidence, get out of their cultural formation, and now are strong writers talking about what is needed to help the victims and reform the culture which promotes abuse.
The toxicity of that culture, when it is under exposure, tends to latch out in violent rhetoric, if not actually engage in violence. That culture is deplorable. That culture has come to a point of crisis as the sinful, hateful ideologies which underlie it have become exposed. Now, all pretense of Christian charity has vanished. Anti-Semitism, other forms of racism, and sexism reveal themselves in the words used against those who expose the failings of the so-called traditional culture, with fantasies of murder demonstrating the final solution these ideologues would love to use on their critics. This cannot be regarded as an authentic Christian response. Even if all their facts were right (which they are not), their lack of charity proves they are but loud gongs who have nothing to offer:
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing (1Cor. 13:1-3 RSV).
Let us pray for the victims of sexual assault, that they are healed of the harm they have suffered, as well as for their abusers, that not only justice is done but also that they, too, one day, see the evil they have done, repent, and do what they can do to help heal the world which they have damaged from their sin. Let us not listen to the naysayers, who act like abusers themselves, seeking to dominate and control others, but rather, let us see how their words demonstrates the truth which is being exposed. Let us remember the constant need for reformation, so that we welcome critics of our failings as friends who seek our betterment instead of treating them as enemies who must be destroyed. Let us follow the path of righteousness which is demonstrated and revealed in love instead of the pseudo-righteousness which hides a vain, hateful spirit which seeks to either dominate or destroy all those who do not bow down to their pseudo-glory.
The path was set by Jesus. Let us follow him.
[Image=Christendom College Sign by AgnosticPreachersKid [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons]
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