Catholic Church: Time to Heal
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"For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body." Corinthians 5:10
"For we must all stand before Christ to be judged."
Most days this blog is about Scripture and God's Love. However, in light of recent events, I feel I would be remiss if I did not address the ongoing crisis in the Catholic Church. Certainly, by now most have read or heard about the reports about the devastating, reprehensible abuse that child victims have suffered at the hands of some Catholic priests going back some 70 years, and the complicit cover-up by Catholic Bishops and Cardinals. It is my expressed hope to shed some light on this extreme evil that has occurred over time, so we can all better deal with the heinous news that is unfolding even as I write this.
Initially, my reaction was astonishment, disgust, and deep sadness. How dare those priests defile vulnerable, helpless children? How dare they bring scandal and evil into the lives of so many? I think the church has made a big mistake all along with dealing with -- or not dealing with-- paedophile priests. I believe that to say these priests are mentally ill is a mistake, which may be why they say there is no help available for paedophiles; that even with psychiatric treatment, they cannot and do not change. Rather, I believe paedophilia is pure evil--evil incarnate--that needs to be dealt with swiftly and directly to get innocent children out of harm's way. These paedophile priests should have been charged for their high-crimes and incarcerated rather than hidden, as was the case.
Most of the accused priests on the list reportedly have never been tried in a court of law, have died, or are covered by the statute of limitations, due to the Church knowingly covering for their crimes. There are precious few who will actually be charged for their crimes, and perhaps fewer yet who seek out the opportunity to reconcile with God for their sinful behaviour.
This week, I have started praying for all the children who were used and abused, whose lives were affected, forever changed, by sexual abuse by their trusted parish priests. I pray these children/adult children can someday, somehow, someway be able to forgive those who molested them, and the Lord will heal them fully. As difficult as it is, I have also been praying for the priest perpetrators, as they are in dire need of God's mercy. They have both destroyed lives and brought scandal and shame upon the Church of my faith. Once trustworthy, these priests have destroyed the mental and physical health of many of those they abused, have eroded public trust in priests and the Catholic Church, and these effects will likely last for decades to come.
My gut says they need to be punished to the full extent of the law, and the victims need to be afforded much-needed resources and help-- every opportunity to heal. In all of this, when I pray, it has occurred to me over and again that, as much condemnation as I feel, I cannot be judge and jury. By the Church hierarchy covering up for these paedophile priests, they likely avoided incarceration, which may have led them to repent of their sins and ask for forgiveness, which the Bible tells us is necessary to make things right with God. Due to the Church hiding and shuffling them from parish to parish, most, in essence, went Scot-free.
"There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent." Luke 24:47
I especially pray for all the good, caring priests left behind in the wake of this travesty, those who may be somehow held accountable by the people for the sins of their priest colleagues, though they are really good priests -- and that is the majority. May our Dear Lord protect them and give them peace, comfort, wisdom, and discernment as they continue to effectively minister to their parishes/communities.
The Bible tells us to let Jesus handle the evil among us that we encounter; our job is forgiveness. Take it to the foot of the cross and allow Jesus to deal with the perpetrators as He will. Most of all, my fervent prayer is that God's will be done in all of this, as He deals with each of these paedophiles as only He can, while enabling their victims to fully heal.
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