Monday, March 22, 2010

An Apology from a Pope

The Problem

During the past 50 years people have complained about priests sexually abusing them. The current pope has offered an apology. The wronged party is not satisfied with the apology. Neither am I.

First, the apology focuses upon Ireland. What about the abuses done in Canada, the United States, Australia, Brazil, need I go on with all the other countries? Seems like a trend and nothing is being done to address this issue nor to acknowledge that it is a huge problem. If the apology sticks with one country it may distract from the bigger problem. Afraid of showing dirty laundry to the public? Apologizing for the one dirty linen found on the ground by the public and hoping the basket full of dirty clothes goes unnoticed?

Second, I believe there are two crimes that were done here, the abuse itself being crime 1 and the denial of any wrongdoing up until recently being crime 2. What is the most frustrating thing for a victim than to be disbelieved and then attempting to describe the crime in its graphic details to then be ignored and shunned by the leadership of the church because the story is just not believed?

Claimant-->You have dirty clothes in your laundry basket.
Reluctant Apologizer-->We wear clean clothes.
Claimant-->I saw Criminal A put one dirty sock in that closed basket.
Reluctant Apologizer-->Please describe this dirty sock.
Claimant-->It was red, its easy to find, just open the basket and you will see it.
Reluctant Apologizer-->Did anyone else see Criminal A put this red sock in the basket?
Claimant-->I have no idea and I don't care, look in the basket and you will see for yourself.
Reluctant Apologizer-->Well Criminal A denies having put his red sock in the basket. Are you sure that it was our basket? You may be confused. Are you sure it was his sock and not someone else's sock, maybe your own?
Claimant-->Look in the bloody basket, the one with the initials of your organization and find the red sock with the initials of its owner on the sock and you will see.
Reluctant Apologizer-->Well it may take time to go through all of our baskets and all of the clothes found therein, we will get back to you.

months go by and Claimant meets Frustrated who shares his story of having seen Criminal A put his green dirty shirt in the laundry basket and that Reluctant Apologizer took down his statement and never got back. Both decide to ask around and see if anyone else has seen anything and they both discover that several have had similar experiences, it goes public.

Reluctant Apologizer-->Well we have concluded our investigation and we wish to apologize for the red sock and the green shirt, not to worry Criminal A will no longer have access to that particular laundry basket.
Claimant-->What else was in the laundry basket? Why is it still hidden? Why are you only acknowledging the red sock and the green shirt?
Frustrated-->Yes, and also what about the fact that you ignored and disbelieved us until we took matters into our own hands and began to organize? Lastly, why is Criminal A only being blocked on one laundry basket.... shouldn't he be blocked from all of your other ones as well?
Reluctant Apologizer-->Well we will offer Criminal A to an outside justice system so that we do not need to answer your other concerns, would that be acceptable?
Claimant-->That may be nice, but what about Criminal B? One of my friends saw him put dirty pants in some other laundry basket.
Reluctant Apologizer-->If your friend comes in, I will be happy to ignore her details and repeat the same nonsense I did with you two and then we will apologize for Criminal B's behavior once we can no longer stall and hide.

What should be done

The leadership spent a lot of resources to hide the crime and to discourage the victims from receiving any comfort. I can understand being cautiously skeptical and investigating any allegation but when you see a phenomenon that crosses national borders and that unrelated people all seem to be giving identical details about a crime you border on the ridiculous if you stall in your investigation and tell the victim that the aggressor denies the allegations.

Does the Roman Catholic Church really believe that admission of a crime is the first instinct of a criminal? I can understand that dirty laundry is preferable to be kept in one's family but we are talking about burnt clothing not about some priest who doodles on a notepad while hearing someone's confession. We are talking about a priest who takes advantage of his trustworthy position to satisfy himself sexually not about some priest who thinks people on welfare should work in hard labor camps and occasionally writes about his opinions to his peers.

Dirty laundry is normal, burnt laundry is not. The leadership who stalled and ignored the problem should apologize for trying to hide the crime and then resign from their positions of leadership. Forgiving does not imply ignoring the crime, forgiveness is acknowledging the crime and still having a relationship with the criminal. A parent who sees his child stealing from a store owner won't ignore it but will have his child face responsibility of his actions and still be there as a parent. A parent who sees that his child steals and then tries to hide this fact from the victim is not doing his family name any favors nor is he helping his child.


Anonymous said...

Priests should have the possibility to get married as nuns and all people with religious duties.

First, it would let them express their passions with their love rather than on children.

Second, they would understand better what life is all about.

Eaglewolf said...

Recent news has the pope discounting vicious rumors by petty individuals and he would not let himself be intimidated.

This discounts his apology as an apology for having been caught, not an apology of genuine repentance. The hierarchy of the church did everything in their power to prevent the facts from being known. This latest denial of a problem demonstrates that the crime was never to be acknowledged but rather swept aside.

"We apologized, what more do they want?", how about genuine sorrow and anger for the crime. The leaders involved in the cover-up should resign as a sign of repentance, the thing that they are supposed to teach by example, no?