I’ve been asked by people who know I am Catholic, what do you make of this? How can you still belong to this church? How can you trust that your priest isn’t an abuser?
I went to confession last Saturday – after the McCarrick scandal – but before the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report. I so fortunate to walk into the confessional and see a retired priest I know well and love. He just said “What’s up?” And I told him that I was so sickened by what had happened in the church I felt like leaving the church. He just said “me too.” We talked for a while. I made a good confession. I received absolution. And I left, resolved to do what he told me to do.
“Keep doing what you are doing because it is the right thing. They will all answer for what they have done.”
I am sickened by what McCarrick was able to do. I am sickened by the fact that he was promoted within the church when it was an open secret that he was an abuser. He was promoted. He was a cardinal!
The Pennsylvania report is beyond appalling. I am sickened to read of the abuse of children, of course. But I am horrified to read, in black and white, the complete lack of any kind of human or meaningful response on behalf of the church hierarchy. They all just covered, lied, and obfuscated. There was no care or concern for the victims or their families. There was no apparent shock at what these priests were doing. These priests were not an anomaly. It was a culture. And it appears to have gone all the way up through the church.
It would strain credulity that somehow what happened in Pennsylvania was confined to Pennsylvania. Certainly it was, and may still be, happening in parishes, dioceses, and archdioceses throughout this country.
The dearth of meaningful response is not reassuring. I expected to hear about this in homilies this week. I have been to mass three times, and not one word. I expected the good priests and holy people of social media to be expressing their shock and horror.
Instead I have heard vague and tepid requests for prayers for the church. Oh really? Prayers for the church? Yes, I am praying for the church. But I want more.
In my onion, Cardinal McCarrick should be in prison. I want Cardinal Wuerl in prison. I want the church to condemn what they have done.
I don’t want to see any more responses about being “saddened.” I don’t want to hear any more euphemisms for rape, ritual child abuse, and cover-ups.
I am angry.
I will not stop being a Catholic though. I will not stop going to Mass. I won’t let the evil one’s victory to be complete.
full disclosure: My late uncle is one of the priests named in the PA Grand Jury report.