I’ve been searching for something to say about the stories that are emerging from the inside of the Catholic Church and the cases of sexual abuse and rape at the hands of some members of the clergy and the cover-up engineered by the hierarchy of the church. I’m not Catholic and so what I have to say or think is purely from someone who sees criminal activity and people in desperate need of help being covered up, paid off, or ignored, regardless of the rank or power of the people involved. But over at Balloon Juice I came across a comment from ThymeZone who has first-hand experience in the matter and captures my feelings.
I have no dog in the fight over what is happening [in] the Catholic Church, but when it comes to the simple matter of how people treat other people, when it comes to the mysteries of sexuality, I refuse to be judgmental and carry grudges. At the risk of seeming odd and being unpopular in an age of triumphant sex police on every corner, I just don’t want to join in the condemnation of other people unless there is some really compelling reason to do so. The Church has its own work to do, and I have no advice for it on how to go about doing that work. I wish it well, I hope it turns out as well as possible for everyone under the circumstances. In my own experience, by far the most painful part of what happened to me was the hysterical reaction of adults around me to the events.
This is not to say that I don’t think that those who committed these acts shouldn’t be prosecuted for the crime and those who knew about it but did nothing should be absolved of their responsibility for doing nothing. It does no good to point fingers and blame the victim; it only compounds the crime and reinforces the impression that the powerful can forever dominate the weak. But forgiveness and reconciliation is much harder to achieve.