This week the 50th international Eucharistic congress took place in Croke Park, Ireland. After discussing the history of the church in Ireland (a highly biased one as you can imagine) the Pope had this to say regarding clerical sex abuse,
‘Thankfulness and joy at such a great history of faith and love have recently been shaken in an appalling way by the revelation of sins committed by priests and consecrated persons against people entrusted to their care. Instead of showing them the path towards Christ, towards God, instead of bearing witness to his goodness, they abused people and undermined the credibility of the Church’s message. How are we to explain the fact that people who regularly received the Lord’s body and confessed their sins in the sacrament of Penance have offended in this way? It remains a mystery. Yet evidently, their Christianity was no longer nourished by joyful encounter with Jesus Christ: it had become merely a matter of habit. The work of the Council was really meant to overcome this form of Christianity and to rediscover the faith as a deep personal friendship with the goodness of Jesus Christ. The Eucharistic Congress has a similar aim. Here we wish to encounter the Risen Lord. We ask him to touch us deeply. May he who breathed on the Apostles at Easter, communicating his Spirit to them, likewise bestow upon us his breath, the power of the Holy Spirit, and so help us to become true witnesses to his love, witnesses to the truth. His truth is love. Christ’s love is truth.’
I’m wondering what aspect of the abuse is a mystery. Is it a mystery that the forced oppression of one of humanities most base instincts has manifested itself in such a manner? Is it a mystery these priests acted with such impunity when they were given unrestricted power over vulnerable children? Is it a mystery that these abuses became more widespread as the church would not listen to the cries of the victims? Is it a mystery the abuses continued as the church refused to punish or even remove those responsible from their positions? Is it a mystery that these priests felt they were beyond the law as they were merely moved from parish to parish for these heinous crimes; something which the Pope himself is guilty of. I don’t think any of these are mysteries at all. The only mystery which I can see is how the church, which is supposedly the beacon of morality, can act in such a callous manner and ruin so many lives. Even now with the abuses in the full public eye the Church is fighting tooth and nail to save itself and not help the victims of the abuse. Every apology has to be forced from the church; the church is even refusing to pay compensation to the victims. At present the Irish tax payer is paying over 50% of the allocated compensation. So while the Pope sits on his golden throne in his untaxed multi-billion dollar institution, it is the ordinary Irish tax-payer that has to pay for the abuses caused by him and his underlings. His statement above reeks of this kind of self-interest, the priests ‘instead of bearing witness to his goodness, they abused people and undermined the credibility of the Church’s message’. So the damage done by these priests was not emotional and physiological damage incurred by the victims but the message of the Church is not as credible anymore, well bless their cotton socks, the poor things. So the only mystery is how the church can put itself ahead of vulnerable children and victims of abuse time and time again. Maybe we should send Scooby Doo and the mystery machine to find out, after all they are pretty nifty at solving crimes of individuals who use use a fictitious spirit to scare people so they can accomplish their own selfish agenda.