Rubbing Salt into Deep Wounds
In his first hours as the new head of the church, Pope Francis made a self-effacing joke, carried his own luggage, rode on a bus, paid his hotel bill and asked his flock to bless him.
Then, he visited Cardinal Bernard Law.
I’m not a sophisticated or well educated person. And while much of the world’s problems seem complicated to me, I’m sure I too often see too much in “black and white.” But when it comes to sex crimes against kids I can’t help it. It’s seems very simple to me: we ought not to celebrate or honor or promote or praise adults who enable predators to hurt children.
And so to me, whatever good will Pope Francis may have begun to engender with his humility and his ‘common touch’ was immediately erased by his visit with the prelate who is the most disgraced Catholic official in the US.
(Granted, LA’s Cardinal Roger Mahony may have stripped Law from that title in recent years.)
I’m sure the Pope didn’t intend to further hurt already wounded victims and already betrayed Catholic. But I’m sure the same could be said of Ireland’s Cardinal Brady or Germany’s Archbishop Mueller or Kansas City’s Bishop Finn or any of the other thousands of prelates who have enabled child molesting clerics to molest more children – they didn’t intend to let more boys and girls be raped and sodomized.
But does that matter? More crimes took place. More lives were wrecked. More callousness and deceit and reckless was hidden. More wrongdoers were emboldened. And these men could have prevented this devastation.
If the visit with Cardinal Law was somehow inadvertent, where’s the apology? If some aide “slipped up” and schedule the trip to Law’s basilica but forgot that Law was there or likely would be, where’s the explanation?
It seems the entire history of the dealings between abuse victims and Catholic officials can be summed up in six words: Hopes raised again, hopes dashed again.
Honestly, I personally didn’t have real hopes for this pontiff. But I certainly would have expected that he might have avoided rubbing salt into deep wounds in his first real day on the job.