Thursday, September 29, 2005

Support the Troops

The latest Catholic Standard & Times is posted. Here are excerpts from Cardinal Rigali's weekly column:
Over the past week, we Catholics have come face to face with evil. We saw that, in our own Church, troubled priests, to whom we looked as ministers of sacramental grace, as collaborators in ministry and indeed as friends, had committed despicable acts of evil upon our most innocent and precious members, our children.

This knowledge, and the depravity of the acts detailed in the Philadelphia Grand Jury Report, affects me deeply. I grieve for the pain and humiliation victims of clergy sexual abuse have suffered.

To them I say, once again, with a heavy heart: I apologize to you personally. Your suffering is borne by all Catholics. All believers stand with you for support and are united with you in prayer. These words are meant to be first steps of healing, which I pray you will receive through the grace of God....

Many years ago I dedicated my life as a priest of Jesus, the High Priest, to serve Him and His Church, the people of God. Today I acknowledge the betrayal of abusive priests, as do so many dedicated priests here in the Archdiocese. These good and faithful servants of our Lord feel especially hurt. I know they have endured uncharitable comments or perhaps silent stares of condemnation from some members of the community. I extend my fraternal admiration for all the selfless service they render. They strive for personal holiness as they lead the people entrusted to their care to a deeper relationship of love with our Lord Jesus. To them I say with a full heart: thank you for all you do and are.

I express these words with deepest gratitude. But my words are not enough. I invite all the faithful to consider times in your life when a priest celebrated a significant moment in your life with you, or consoled your family at a time of grief, or in some small way accompanied you on your journey toward holiness of life in Jesus.

As you have considered the evil perpetrated by a minority of priests over several decades, I ask you to take the time to thank personally one of the overwhelming majority of priests who have performed generous service to you and the Church over a much longer span of time. If a priest has ever led you closer to the Father’s love, now may be the time to thank him personally with words of your own.
He does get that it's the good, humble and honest ones who will suffer most because of this.... So sad.

-30-

3 Comments:

Blogger Fr. John said...

The Cardinal wrote: "During the past we we have come face to face with evil."

Wrong. Very wrong. Assuming that the Cardinal had access to all this information before the Grand Jury released it, "we" didn't come face to face with evil. First, priests and the laity did come face to face with the evil that the folks in charge knew about all the while and kept hidden from us. Second, his lead sentence is written as if the evil had been unexpectedly, unaccountably discovered. If anyone came face to face with evil this week, it was because of a Grand Jury that the Archdiocese opposed.

If the powers of the Church can't face reality in the eye, and write it as it is, what hope do we have?

29/9/05 16:58  
Blogger Todd said...

I think Rigali will need to also step back from his defense of Bevilacqua and Krol. It's all well and good for him to acknowledge a minority of priests who have betrayed the Church. But we knew about these perps back in the 80's, when the first whiff of widespread scandal was brought to the USCCB by Tom Doyle and his colleagues. Rigali is not apologizing for anything new.

If Rigali really wants to move forward, he's going to have to come to terms with the fact that mainstream Catholics (those who weren't abused or don't have loved ones abused) are more pissed off about the harboring, hiding and moving of sex predators.

And sad to say, that looks like a significant minority of bishops, if not a majority. And on that score Rigali is still wallowing in dangerous naivete. It's time for him to get with the program. He doesn't need to eviscerate the memory of his two predecessors, but he must say something to show he's moving away from such administrative practices.

Until he does so, then backs it up with significant years of no abuse under his watch, he will be tainted--and not unfairly, I might add--with the brush of scandal of his predecessors.

29/9/05 22:30  
Blogger Jeff said...

Right on, Todd!

(uh...who, what...was that me? I guess it was!)

29/9/05 22:43  

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