by the claim that one of the Pope's henchmen has made in a Good Friday service, of all places: that the accusations against the Catholic Church and its leadership are akin to anti-Semitism. "I'm not going to talk about the victims," he said, "because they're being talked about elsewhere. I'm going to talk about how unfair it is that the Church and Pope are being maligned in this way." (my paraphrase of his words)
Here's what the follow-up news item said: "At a solemn Good Friday service, Pope Benedict XVI's personal preacher likened the tide of allegations that the pontiff has covered up sex abuse cases to the "more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism." But within hours, facing a storm of criticism at the comparison, the Vatican felt it necessary to distance the pope from the preacher's remarks."
I have dear Catholic friends and family members who must be cringing at the situation that has developed over sexual abuse by priests over the past many years. And my friend Father Rick doubtless suffers himself every time another accusation is made against a fellow priest, because his profession is suffering.
Whether accusations are proven true or not, the accused person (priest, teacher, pastor, coach) is often ruined personally and professionally. The widespread scandal in religious organizations causes every clergyperson to be viewed with suspicion.
And yet the damage done to victims by that betrayal of trust is, I think, even greater than the damage done to a profession, to a religious tradition, to an individual. There is no excuse for any kind of abuse perpetrated upon a child or adult who trusts the perpetrator. Or who doesn't trust, for that matter. There is NO excuse.
And there is no excuse, IMHO, for pretending innocence or ignorance, for being blind to the damage being done, for shuffling an offender into another position without consequences. I have seen too many times the results of sexual abuse and the way it utterly distorts a person's sense of safety and personal identity.
As I said, I am appalled.