Is child abuse a terrible crime? Yep. For some, sadly, it is felt that the only way out is suicide. The scars can run that deep. The crime, then, can be tantamount to a murder more terrible than that pictured above. The trauma is so mind-freezing that it’s like having one’s throat slit, one’s brains blown out. We pray for true victims, that they might know, instead, the peace that the Prince of the Most Profound Peace can and does provide, using even such experiences to so launch the person into personal growth and maturity that the person’s very life becomes – how to say? — a magnificence unknown to most of mankind… if they come to know the deep friendship of our Lord. We pray.
Some articles on the abuse crisis in the U.S.A. have been collected by TheseStoneWalls. These articles are by Pope Benedict XVI’s friend, the great Father John Neuhaus, and are entitled Scandal Time: A Collection of Essays (a 61 page *.PDF, first published in First Things). As the years from 2002 onward go by in these essays, one notes an increasing incisiveness in Father Neuhaus’ indictment of the hypocritical attitude of the USCCB, an attitude so very evident, as he points out, in the Dallas Charter and the Essential Norms. Why is it that the Bishops or other ecclesiastical superiors – who may well have to face allegations against themselves – do not figure into the Charter or Norms. Are they better than the rest of mankind? The Holy See has been particularly aggrieved because the procedures do nothing to help a priest who has been falsely accused. The idea seems to be that the more priests, innocent or guilty, who have their throats slit by the Charter and Norms, the better it looks to the media that the problem is being fixed. The concerns of the Holy See continue to this day, ten years later, with no foreseeable change coming any time soon. The hypocrisy and injustice continue, not only among the bishops, but now with the great religious orders as they begin to set things in order, hopefully without such false starts as was witnessed with the efforts of the USCCB.
You can read that series of articles for yourselves. In this post, I’d like to go after one particular aspect of hypocritical injustice wrought against not only rightly accused priests, but also against possibly falsely accused priests, that is, those priests who have allegations against them, allegations which are not substantiated, but which fall under the common threefold ”credible” rubric:
- “If it’s theoretically possible (being in the same country)
- then it could have happened, and therefore,
- it’s credible that it did happen.”
Of course, any “credible” finding is understood by everyone as “It did happen.” This is true even for those who made the decision about mere theoretical possibility.
What can happen: With a phone call proffering allegations from anyone, anytime, anywhere, even as a sick, practical joke (knowing what will happen to the priest), priests can be required by their ecclesiastical superiors to be checked into an institute/clinic for a comprehensive, professionally wrought battery of psychosexual examinations lasting for days, weeks or months.
“Non-compliance” under the rubric of the unalienable right to privacy (both in Church and Constitutional law), so as to insist that it is incorrect, in law and in justice to have to prove one’s innocence (which is impossible) instead of being proven guilty if that should be the case…. that kind of “non-compliance” or “lack of cooperation in an investigation” could mean that the priest would be automatically held to be guilty, so that he is then forthwith laicized (which is almost equivalent to the death penalty for priests).
During such a battery of exams, untold numbers of priests have even been subjected to the viewing/hearing of pornographic media while having their privates hooked up to a particular kind of plethysmograph. This has been known for many years. It is cited time and again in the John Jay report. Yet, ecclesiastical superiors have sent priests with even unfounded allegations through such a hell so that it could be said to the media that they did everything possible, including, in this way, the violent rape of their priests (horrible, whether they are guilty or not).
Oh, but surely, that’s stopped! Um… hasn’t it? You mean you haven’t heard about all the bishops and other ecclesiastical superiors who have raped their priests in this way resigning in shame? You haven’t? No? That’s because those resignations didn’t happen. Those priests who are responsible for implementing such policies of rape-your-fellow-priest in such institutes/clinics have themselves not resigned, much less been laicized. Instead, the perps of this kind of priest-rape are touted as world-class experts. Really? Yes, really.
It’s just that bad. It’s much worse than you ever imagined.
Put it this way: If a bishop can so callously have his priests raped on behalf of being politically correct with the media, do you think for a second that that bishop would hesitate to cover up the rape of a child so that he could avoid heat from the media when, after so much time without an “incident”, he would prefer just to cover things up, you know, to make it seem like he’s so wonderful, to make it seem that he’s gotten things under control?
I’m not going to believe that we’ve made any progress in the abuse crisis — now ten years on – as long as the rape of priests by bishops and other ecclesiastical superiors continues. One must presume this all to be continuing until we see bishops and others coming clean, repenting of their crimes and resigning. Otherwise, any statement to the contrary doesn’t ring true. There’s just a bit too much hypocrisy.
Now, there have been many calls for “mercy” for priests who have allegations leveled against them but are innocent. They don’t need mercy. I want to see them receive justice:
- They are innocent until proven guilty.
- They are not to attempt in all futility to prove themselves innocent.
- They are not to be subjected to an invasion of privacy psychologically.
- They are not to be raped.
That list could continue, but you get the point. Some don’t. Some defend this kind of thing with the idea behind the phrase pro bono Ecclesiae (for the good of the Church). Let me tell you this: injustice and immorality are always against the interests of the Church, always:
And why not do evil that good may come? — as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just (Romans 3,8 -rsv).
“Condemnation…” I like that word. Those who perpetrate crimes against youngsters or against priests should know that they risk this condemnation. Hell is like heaven in that it’s forever.
I hope, dear reader, that you see the correlation between a lack of justice for priests and a lack of justice for true victims. Where there is injustice for one, there will be injustice for the other. Mark my words.
Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht anders. Gott helfe mir! Amen.
[ὅπερ ἔδει δεῖξαι (q.e.d.)]