He did it!

After refusing to say he would (or wouldn’t), the Pope met with victims of sexual abuse after celebrating Mass in DC today.  At the meeting, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston gave the Pope a notebook containing the names of 1,000 sexual abuse survivors in the Boston archdiocese.  No word on what the Pope’s reaction was upon reciept of this unusual gift (“awesome souvenir, thanks”–perhaps not).

No one is asking me, but I’ll say something about his homily anyway:  it was too preachy for my tastes (are you surprised?).  All about submission to God’s will, nothing about the Church’s responsibility to its flock.  No theological insights (again, no shock there) and nothing spiritually uplifting about what he said.  I think he’s the kind of speaker that does better in smaller groups, perhaps because he’s preaching a message that most people don’t really agree with . . .

5 Responses to He did it!

  1. laurabethnielsen says:

    Props to his holiness. I suspect it was the blistering scrutiny that my earlier post put him under. (bad sentence)

  2. jeffaregularworkinglawyer says:

    I am kinda curious about how my Catholic friends feel about this letter to the editor in today’s NYT. Not curious enough to ask any of them in person, however. I guess that’s what blogs are for.

    To the Editor:

    Re “Pope, in U.S., Is ‘Ashamed’ of Pedophile Priests” (front page, April 16):

    The Holy Father’s expression of shame for the sexual abuse scandal is well taken. But I think he should also, at some point, remind American Catholics that they are called on in the Lord’s Prayer to forgive from the bottom of their hearts the sexual abusers in question.

    Hard as it may be, that call holds for Catholic victims of sexual abuse as well. Our faith is supposed to be a liberating experience for all involved.

    George McCauley
    Bronx, April 16, 2008

    The writer is a Jesuit priest.

  3. vickywoeste says:

    Since I appear to be the only self-outed Catholic on this blog, I would offer only the modest observation that yes, forgiveness is a moral obligation, even for the victims. But in this situation, it is particularly incumbent upon those responsible for the sin to apologize and make penance–and the Church has been slow, clumsy, secretive, and insufficient in doing so, by any reckoning. So while it is owed forgiveness, it is not doing nearly enough to earn it. I wasn’t sexually abused by any church official, for which I give thanks, so I am spared the hard work of forgiveness that the victims must do, and I can’t imagine judging them for how long it takes them to get there or presuming what they need to hear from those who wronged them in order to walk that path.

    I don’t know Fr. McCauley SSJ, but I could easily comment here about how the academically inclined Jesuits are usually the first to resort to abstractions and conceptualizations and theories when it comes to the duties of Catholics. Would that be too much of an inside slight for the rest of you? Oh, hell; let me just lay out my cards here: his letter comes dangerously close to pouring salt on open wounds. He seems to be speaking for those who would (continue to) defend the prerogatives of the ordained rather than work towards a true communion of all Catholics, lay and ordained alike.

  4. hegemonsadun says:

    I don’t know where to post it, so I’ll put it here. Someone might want to write a full post on todays big news – Justice Stevens renounces capital punishment…

  5. vickywoeste says:

    Back to the topic at hand–Justice Stevens deserves an entire blogpost of his own, hegemonsadun–today’s NYT mentions that Australia, Austria, Ireland, England, and Mexico have all had sexual abuse scandals, too (and Canada, I think, as well). It’s also worth noticing that the incidence of sexual abuse in the Church in these countries is no greater, proportionally, than it is in the US. But the US dealt with the problems more openly (forced to, no doubt, by the legal system) and thus the issue seemed to be so much larger and to have a much more significant impact on the church here.

    The other point to make, I think, is the reason why Benedict came to the US in the first place, knowing he’d have to confront this ugly issue when it is the last thing he really wants to talk about. It’s really about money. The church in Europe is a lost cause. The churches there are EMPTY. White Europeans aren’t going to mass, and they aren’t giving the Pope money any more. Oddly, Americans still go to mass (though fewer do today than, say, 50 years ago) and they still give money to the church. So this is about plugging the holes in the dam for the Holy See, I think.

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