Tuesday, April 13, 2010

As a member of CL, I absolutely had to post this here

La Repubblica, April 4, 2010, page 1
Let Us Return, Wounded, to Christ
by Julián Carrón*

*The author is the President of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation.

Dear Editor,

None of us has ever been as dismayed as we are in front of the heart-wrenching story of
child abuse. Our dismay arises from our inability to respond to the demand for justice
which springs from the bottom of our hearts.

The request to assume responsibility, the acknowledgement of the evil committed, the
reprimand for the mistakes made in the handling of the affair – all of this seems to us to
be totally inadequate as we face this sea of evil. Nothing seems to be enough. And so we
can understand the frustrated reactions that have been coming forth at this time.

This has all served the purpose of making us stand face to face with our demand for
justice, acknowledging that it is limitless, bottomless – as deep as the wound itself. Since
it is infinite, it can never be satisfied. So the dissatisfaction, impatience and even the
disillusionment of the victims are understandable, even after all the injuries and mistakes
have been admitted: nothing can satisfy their thirst for justice. It’s like entering into an
endless struggle. From this point of view, the ones who committed the abuse are
paradoxically facing a challenge similar to that of the victims: nothing can repair the
damage that has been done. This in no way means that their responsibility can be lifted,
and much less the verdict that justice may impose upon them; it would not be enough
even if they were to serve the maximum sentence.

If this is the case, then the most burning question, which no one can escape, is as simple
as it is unavoidable: “Quid animo satis?” What can satisfy our thirst for justice? This is
where we begin to feel all our powerlessness, so powerfully expressed in Ibsen’s Brand:
“Answer me, God, in the jaws of death: Is there no salvation for the Will of Man? No
small measure of salvation?” In other words, cannot the whole force of human will
succeed in bringing about the justice that we so long for?

This is why even those who demand it most, those who are most insistent in calling for
justice, will not be loyal to the depth of their nature with its demand for justice if they do
not face this incapacity that they share with all men. Were we not to face it, we would fall
prey to an even crueler injustice, to a veritable assassination of our humanity, because in
order to keep on crying out for the justice that we formulate according to our own
measurement, we have to silence the voice of our hearts, thus forgetting the victims and
abandoning them in their struggle.

It is the Pope who, paradoxically, in his disarming boldness, has not fallen prey to
reducing justice to any sort of human measure. To begin with, he admitted without
hesitation the gravity of the evil committed by priests and religious, urged them to accept
their responsibility for it, and condemned the way certain bishops in their fear of scandal
have handled the affair, expressing his deep dismay over what had happened and taking
steps to ensure that it not happen again. But then, he expressed his full awareness that this
is not enough to respond to the demand that there be justice for the harm inflicted: “I
know that nothing can undo the wrong you have endured. Your trust has been betrayed
and your dignity has been violated.” Likewise, even if the perpetrators serve their
sentences, repent, and do penance, it will never be enough to repair the damage they did
to the victims and to themselves.

Benedict XVI’s recognition of the true nature of our need, of our struggle, is the only way
to save our full demand for justice; it is the only way to take it seriously, to take it fully
into consideration. “The demand for justice is a need that is proper to man, proper to a
person. Without the possibility of something beyond, of an answer that lies beyond the
existential modalities that we can experience, justice is impossible… If the hypothesis of
a ‘beyond’ were eliminated, that demand would be unnaturally suffocated” (Father
Giussani). So how did the Pope save this demand? By calling on the only one who can
save it, someone who makes the beyond present in the here and now, namely, Christ, the
Mystery made flesh. “Jesus Christ … was Himself a victim of injustice and sin. Like you,
He still bears the wounds of His own unjust suffering. He understands the depths of your
pain and its enduring effect upon your lives and your relationships, including your
relationship with the Church.” Calling on Christ is not a way to seek a hiding place to run
off to in the face of the demand for justice: it is the only way to bring justice about. The
Pope calls upon Christ, and steers clear of a truly dangerous shoal, that of distancing
Christ from the Church, as if the Church were too full of filth to be able to bear Him. The
Protestant temptation is always lurking. It would have been very easy to give in to, but at
too high a price – that of losing Christ. Because, as the Pope recalls, “it is in the
communion of the Church that we encounter the person of Jesus Christ.” And so, aware
of the difficulty both the victims and the guilty have “to forgive or be reconciled with the
Church,” he dares to pray that, by drawing near to Christ and sharing in the life of the
Church, they “will come to rediscover Christ’s infinite love for each one of you,” since
He is the only one able to heal their wounds and rebuild their lives.

This is the challenge facing all of us who are incapable of finding an answer for our sins
and for the sins of others: agreeing to take part in Easter, which we celebrate during these
days, as the only way to see the re-blossoming of hope.


felisol said...

Dear Annie,
Sorry, I don't follow.
To talk of the victim and the aggressor as to sides of the same coin, simply doesn't make any sense or comfort to me.
On the contrary; each criminal offense must be dealt with individually.
As for the numerous victims who have had their faiths and lives destroyed; they are in need of immediate help.
This debate opens so many wounds.

And sadly enough; there's a third group. Priests being falsely accused.
A famous, highly loved and appreciated Catholic priest and author is these days being offered as a scapegoat with obvious false accusations to take away the pressure of bishop Muller, who has confessed having committed pedophile acts to an altar boy.

I did know the priest closely in my youth, have worked with him, and have even visited him in his parents' home.
His a great man, brave and honest, but also to an extent controversial.
I am crushed that he today found it necessary to withdraw after serving 30 as a priest. He's still a Dominican munch though, and I pray for him.

He has by many occasions said, "I love the Mother Church. Nothing people can do to me, can make me turn my back to the church.
Maybe that is the right way to see it?

We need the Church to continue to live and carry on the work of Christ, despite human failure and sins.
I cannot see any hope for a future of Christians of the world without the church.

Anonymous said...

Hi Annie,

Yes, this whole thing is heart-wrenching. I've heard that such abuse is less common among Catholic priests than in the general public, but that's little consolation.

However, there is more to this -- and that is the viciousness with which many people (who are not victims or victims' families) are attacking the Holy Father and the Church, and perhaps (I really don't know) making false accusations against the Holy Father. It's the over-the-top malicious viciousness. They obviously have other grudge irons in the fires.

It is quite similar to the vicious and malicious attacks against climate scientists (including death threats, etc), and their science -- much of it funded by Exxon and other fossil fuel industries. The illegal hacking and leaking...

Now this is just a wild idea that flitted thru my head that I'm sure is totally wrong. However, it did occur to me that the Pope has quite openly, strongly, and frequently admonished us Catholics and the world to mitigate climate change. And as the attacks against him are of a similar viciousness & maliciousness as against the climate scientists and their science, I'm just thinking....

Well, anyway, if we find that Exxon et al. are feeding stuff into these attacks, adding fuel and fanning the flames, I wouldn't die of surprise. The attacks against the Holy Father surely do distract us from his message to mitigate climate change... They serve Exxon et al. very nicely.

Annie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Annie said...

I suspect that the main reason Holy Father is being so violent attacked is because of his strong stand against certain social changes that are sweeping the world. He is the only major voice and political leader who is consistently and vocally opposed to abortion and same sex marriage. His warnings on our lack of caretaking of the earth and also protection of our oldest citizens would factor in here as well.

I am so upset about all this that I've decided to turn my back on the mess and simply pray. See HERE for my latest blog post at In My Dreams (my main blog).

Anonymous said...

Yes Annie all those issues feed into it, and could be the sole causes. And don't forget the atheists, who are gloating and screaming. And the Protestants (not all) who hate Catholics.

I'm sure my "Exxon conspiracy theory" is totally false ... but still, one has to ask, who has the most to gain from this, and who has the money to do stuff about it. BXVI's 1/1/10 statement "If You Want Peace, Cultivate Creation" calling us to mitigate environmental harms was perhaps his strongest ever.

Fossil fuels (etc) fund the media (and the politicos--Clinton & Bush Sr, for instance, received the same amounts from oil for their 1992 campaigns; oil doesn't care about abortion, they only want a door into the White House).

All the fuel industries would have had to do in this matter was leak some story to the media about something they either would have dug up & twisted, or totally made up, then the whole thing would have blown up like a wildfire, with all the other miscreants jumping on the bandwagon & raising the flames.

I don't really think that's the way it happened (I’m not a paranoid conspiracy theorist), but I wouldn't put it past oil to do something like that. And I'm sure they are very happy, even if they weren’t involved, about the turn of events, and are quietly gloating in their corporate headquarters. So to them I say, “Wipe that smirk off your face!”

Quanah said...

Dear Felisol,

Fr. Carron's words concerning the victims, the aggressors, and the infinite demand of justice gets right to the heart of the matter. Nothing in this world will right what has happened. No number of apologies, no amount of money, no amount of prison time, castration, the arrest and conviction of the pope, or even the complete dissolution of the Church will heal the wounds of the victims. For an aggressor, be they priest or not, who is truly repentant what are they to do? There is nothing they can do that will repair the damage they have done. Fr. Carron says exactly this: "even if the perpetrators serve their sentences, repent, and do penance, it will never be enough to repair the damage they did to the victims and to themselves." This is why he can rightfully say, "the ones who committed the abuse are paradoxically facing a challenge similar to that of the victims: nothing can repair the damage that has been done."

And here we get to the heart of what needs to happen: forgiveness. Forgiveness is the only thing that can bring healing to the victims. Without that there is no healing for the aggressor either (and they too have been wounded, all be it in a very different way and self inflicted). Forgiveness is at the heart of the Easter mystery and it is for this reason that only by calling upon Christ can the demands of justice truly be met.

In Him,