Mea Culpa, Sorta.

Mea Culpa, Sorta. August 2, 2018
Photo Source Flickr Creative Commons by Aleteia Image Department

This is a first.

For the first time in my life, I’ve been called to task for not being angry enough about rape, sexual assault and child molesting. After all the decades of being kicked around for being too obsessed with these things, it’s a new experience for me, and I must say, I kind of like it.

It feels good to see Godly people, holy people who love Jesus finally get riled up about these crimes. In fact, I think I said that wrong. It feels GRRRREEAAATTT!

But, despite my glee at seeing people fired up on behalf of victims of sexual assault — and I could kiss every single one of you — I want to caution you. Don’t let a lynch mob mentality override your thinking brain.

We need to change a massive dynamic of abuse and corruption that has been going on for a long, long time. If all we do is go skittering off in broadsides against whole groups of people — I’m thinking homosexual priests — we’ll end up doing nothing that will benefit the victims of clerical sexual abuse.

I’m all for getting the people who do this and their hierarchical enablers and putting them someplace where the moon don’t shine. But I want to get the ones who really did it.

What we are dealing with is a system of sexual abuse of minors. It is not a random series of events, at least not on the part of the bishops. It is a systematic pattern of repetitive criminal behavior that allowed a great many people to be horribly injured and harmed. The behavior of those who knew about this and did nothing, as well as those who were guilty of it, is breathtaking in its hardness of heart and indifference to the suffering innocent human beings.

I want it stopped, and I mean all of it.

But I don’t like lynch mobs.

I didn’t intend to write this column, but I realized that I had bent too far over backwards trying to address what I saw as a desire for vengeance instead of justice on the part of some people. I also think that I may have confused Public Catholic readers because I know that sexual assault, rape and child molesting are not confined to the Church, and that this enabling behavior is not confined to the bishops.

Whatever I said that raised the thought that I do not want this stopped or that I do not hold the bishops accountable, please know that I simply did not express myself clearly.

At the same time, if I gave you the idea that I think that a lot of people outside the clergy behave exactly as the bishops have done, then that is accurate. I don’t hold with any of this, no matter who does it.

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4 responses to “Mea Culpa, Sorta.”

  1. Rebecca, do you feel that the guilty priests should be jailed for their crimes, just as a lay person is? If I understand correctly, the priests that were molesting children were just sent away for “treatment” in a place of “retreat” until they were fine, then sent to another parish or church. I personally don’t understand how those in charge, Bishops, Cardinals etc. just overlooked this behavior! Unfortunately I guess Bishops and Cardinals were guilty of not only disregarding this behavior but also were indulging in it. Awful.

  2. I have to wonder about God’s timing. Did the prohibition on the Death Penalty come out precisely because there are those of us who see the crimes of the Bishops and Priests as being capital offenses?

    We need a new Inquisition for both purposes- to root out this evil and turn these men over to secular punishment, but also to model this new merciful justuce for the world.

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