This has been an ugly week: first for the survivors of sex abuse; second, for Catholics across the state; third, for the wider public. For many, rage is the emotion of choice. The latest grand jury report is a bitterly painful text. But rage risks wounding the innocent along with the guilty, and it rarely accomplishes anything good.
The Stoics believed that anger is never a healthy thing: It always involves an inhuman appetite to hurt others, and it always poisons the soul. But this isn’t the Christian view. The anger Jesus showed toward the Temple moneychangers, the Sadducees, and the Pharisees was not merely acceptable but right and good. The anger Philadelphians felt toward the Archdiocese after the 2005 and 2011 grand jury reports was likewise well placed and justified.
Lessons - Time - Years - Evil - Abuse
We’ve worked hard to remember the lessons of that time. Seven years later, we are keenly aware of the evil that sexual abuse victims have suffered. We understand our obligation, and we’re sincerely committed, to help survivors heal. We’ve worked hard to ensure the safety of children and families in Church-related environments. In that task, the guidance and counsel of laypeople – including former law enforcement officials and professionals in assisting abuse survivors – have been especially valuable. We know that rebuilding the trust of our people and the morale of our good priests can only be accomplished with a record of doing the right thing over time. The roughly 100,000 laypeople and clergy we’ve trained in recent years to recognize and report the signs of sexual abuse are part of that effort.
This week’s grand jury report on clergy sex abuse in six Pennsylvania dioceses covers more than seven decades. Some people, credible people, have challenged its processes and disputed elements of its content. But the substance of the report...
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