My views on child abuse and child molestation are harsh and unforgiving and forged by the fires of my own childhood. I give no quarter on this issue.
I have no kind words or forgiving thoughts for the Catholic hierarchy or their enablers, which brings me to Bill Donohue's article on the CNN Opinion web site. You can read what he says here but I'll give you my version:Child abuse and molestation is bad but this stuff happened a long time ago and times were different then and besides everyone does it including churches, schools, businesses and even the Jews. This is all about picking on the Catholic Church for headlines.
Mr. Donohue - you are performing a cheap parlor trick of turning the Catholic Church into the victim here and frankly, it is disgusting. The victims are at the center of this issue, not you and your Catholic ego.
This is not an attack on the Catholic Church. It is about holding the men accountable who lead the Church. And that includes the Pope.
In the wonderful novel "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini, Baba tells his son Amir: "There is only one sin and that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft... When you kill a man, you steal a life. When you tell a lie, you steal someone's right to the truth."
Men, not God, not Church, stole innocence and trust, privacy and possession of one's body and spirit. Can there be a more heinous crime?
While you dress your Cardinals and Pope in fine linens and moral rectitude, the molested cover themselves in revulsion and self-loathing believing they did something to cause this crime.
While you parade about with burning incense and wafers of contrition the raped and battered wander in doubt and confusion as to how God let this happen.
While you sprinkle the Water of Oblivion and chant sacred liturgies the true victims suffer the holy trinity of abuse, alienation and abandonment.
How dare you cloak the Church in victimhood.
Should the deaf children thank God that they were not able to hear their rapist's grunts and gasps of pleasure at defilement?
Should the molested thank God that they eventually became old enough to no longer be attractive to priests? Or should they have prayed for faster transfers?
Should the abused take comfort in the knowledge that it was only a few "bad apples" in the Church and they were just "unfortunate" to be among the chosen prey?
What you defend is not the Church but the silence of power, the sin of willful ignorance and the sin of omission by those who turned a blind eye to the torture and horror at the hands of God's devoted servants.
What you defend is the murder of the soul.
The first day of abuse becomes an eternity of pain and despair and night becomes a never-ending reel that assaults the senses. The smell and feel of sin forever burned into the brain haunting the heart and soul.
I don't know how to explain this horror in a way to make you understand.
I can tell you that abuse smells like Old Spice and Vaseline Hair Tonic wafting in the air with each blow. I can tell you that abuse tastes like oatmeal on a dishrag in my mouth to keep me from screaming. I can tell you that abuse burns like a tub of scalding water boiling away my sins and it stings like the slice of a knife to bleed out that evil blood inside of me. I can tell you that the sound of abuse is an icy echo: I'm only doing this because I love you. If you were good, you wouldn't make me do this.
There is not a bonfire in Hell big enough for the souls of these people to burn in as far as I am concerned. And the statute of limitations should match the term of punishment and damnation - eternity.
The perpetrators stole innocence and purity, trust and love, and beautiful childhood souls like they were nothing more than trinkets of idol pleasure.
But the greatest theft came from the Cardinals and Bishops and authorities. They stole in silence just like a thief in the night. They were soundless accomplices to the murder of souls.
They stole truth from those who needed its protection most. They stole the right to be heard and to be believed. They stole love and hope and the sanctity of the church.
They stole God.
To defend any of this is to steal the last vestige of dignity and honor and justice from those who deserve it most.
There is only one sin and that is theft.
Thou shalt not steal.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Pope Benedict XVI attends Palm Sunday Mass at the Vatican, 03/28/10 (photo: Getty Images)
A moving and searing essay by John Cory on "The Catholic Church Scandal." A must read.