By Mary DeTurris Poust
On the USCCB Media Blog today, Sister Mary Ann Walsh, RSM, posts a powerful reflection on the Holy Week suffering that is enveloping the Church in an especially dark and painful way this year due to media reports that bring up "heartrending, often previously published, stories with a new twist – how the Vatican handled the cases."
She addresses many facts that have been missing from too many secular news stories of late: that Pope Benedict XVI has gone to great lengths to address the crisis, that the church in the United States has had a zero tolerance policy regarding sexual abuse since 2002, that the problems found in the Church with regard to understanding and treating pedophilia decades ago were not confined to the Catholic Church but existed within institutions great and small, even within families.
From the USCCB Media Blog post:
"New knowledge means new obligations for church leaders, of course. Not knowing is no longer acceptable. Inaction will no longer be tolerated by law enforcement, fellow clerics and the Catholic community. Signs of such realization have been shown, for example, by Pope John Paul II who declared 'there is no place in the priesthood or religious life for those who would harm the young' and Pope Benedict who said bluntly: 'I am ashamed and will do everything possible to ensure that this doesn’t happen in the future.'
"For many, the emphasis of Holy Week is on Good Friday, a day that’s good not because Jesus died a terrible death that day, but because the death led to His subsequent resurrection. It holds deep meaning for Catholics now who seek meaning from the tragedy of pedophilia.
'Pedophilia has had a terrible effect on many and reminds us of sinful humanity than is around us and within us. It has made a long Good Friday for many, especially those victimized by this sin and crime. But as the church has learned while dealing with these wounds, as it did with the crucifixion of Jesus, the pain can lead to a church purified of sin.
"With the current spate of news stories about inaction in the face of pedophilia, Catholics rightly feel numbness like that of Holy Saturday when the Apostles and followers of Jesus were stunned by the events around them. The message, however, is that Jesus’ death led to new life. The Church is still learning through its pain. The comfort of Christ awaits, which is something victims/survivors need and deserve and something the entire Church, from Pope Benedict to the newest baptized child, can take hope in."
Read the full post HERE.