Posted by: sisterbernice | January 21, 2011

the powerless put the powerful to shame

I think we should all pray that the Irish visitation helps promote healing and change.

Once again this week we were treated with the media and the lawyers producing a “smoking” gun.  I’ve read a lot of the journalists who have debunked this current claim but not one of them, so far, has pointed out that the letter is after the fact.  The letter was after the scandal began to break.  Let’s be clear about what the scandal is – first it is the event or events of abuse itself.  Next it is the “coverup”.  Now the “coverup” really takes different forms.  For many of the Irish who have been hurt, they had no parents or adults in their lives but that is not true of all.  So, let’s cut through all the bullshit if we want to change.  The farther away from the event, you have a harder time to not only prove collective guilt but also to make sense of it.  Blame is much closer to home, so to speak.  For example, parents and other adults are part of this “cover up”.  Adults in the institutions and parishes looking the other way, not asking questions, etc.  are part of the story.  This is not to get bishops off the hook – they bear the brunt of the ecclesiastical responsibility and guilt – especially those bishops who just moved people around.  But here is the thing Are we going to indict everyone or are we going to heal?

I think that this is why the Pope asked in his letter for Church as a whole to commit to change, to prayer, to healing. We all have the need for conversion – not just the bishops and the Vatican authority figures.  These authority figures have been mostly ignored in the past on most things related to their pronouncements for the Church so even if a “smoking gun” turns up, I personally wouldn’t make much of it.  There is too much evidence that bishops do their own thing.  In hindsight, it is easy to tell the Vatican what it should have done,  BUT, really, the bishop was the one who should have done something. That many did not know what to do is clear.  That many got bad advice is clear. That some were abusers themselves is clear as is the fact that most lacked courage.  But any bishop who hides behind the Vatican or tries to throw the blame their way is avoiding his responsibility.  He can say – I didn’t understand as I got confusing advice but even the “smoking gun” letter shows a deference to the bishops as it is a two way discussion, not a directive.

Clearly none of the past can be undone.  We can only learn, try to prevent, grow as a Church and as a people.  AND, help heal.  I pray for healing.  The news articles only show how deep the damage is even if they are making false or problematic claims.  The pain is palpable but the problem is much more complex than the sound bites and as I have said out loud before, the victims continue to be re-victimized by some of this.

I do my usual routine of prayers tonight and today’s readings are here.  I wrote this before reading them but I find them interesting in light of what I wrote.  The first reading is about Jesus establishing a new covenant and I am basically talking about a new beginning.  The Gospel is the establishment of the College of Bishops – the apostles – ironic in a way.

Today is also the feast of Saint Agnes.  Saint Agnes pray for us and come to the aid of the children, most who are grown but who as children were raped as was threatened to you, raped by men and women who were vowed their lives to God – the Lord whom you died for rather than surrender.  This betrayal hurts us all.

Prayer to St. Agnes from here, the lectionary of the Episcopal Church is quoted below.  Of all the prayers to St. Agnes that I read tonight, this seemed the closest to my sentiments – the pain and suffering of the victims will make us a better Church, a better people and may lead to conversion of many hearts.

“Almighty and everlasting God, who choose those whom the world deems powerless to put the powerful to shame: Grant us so to cherish the memory of your youthful martyr Agnes, that we may share her pure and steadfast faith in you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.”


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