I wasn’t planning to write today, but a friend sent me the speech given by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin Ireland in regard to the sex abuse crisis there. I would recommend reading the speech in it’s entirety – along with the report commissioned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in the wake of the exposure of the crisis in the United States (you’ll find it at www.usccb.org). Here’s the passage that really touched me:
I tell these events not to re-open history, but to illustrate just how difficult it is to bring an institution around to the conviction that the truth must be told. All institutions have an innate tendency to protect themselves and to hide their dirty laundry. We have to learn that the truth has a power to set free which half-truths do not have. The first condition for restorative justice is that all parties are willing to tell the truth and to take ownership of the truth, even when the truth is unpleasant. As I said at a recent liturgy of lament in Dublin: “The truth will set us free, but not in a simplistic way. The truth hurts. The truth cleanses not like smooth designer soap but like a fire that burns and hurts and lances”.
There is an evil spirit within the Church today. Some in powerful positions within the Church – lay and clergy – have decided that temporal power is to be clung to at all costs. They will hide behind whatever they can to cover their despicable agendas with a cloak of legitimacy.
Sometimes – maybe often – the evil spirit cloaks itself in an apparent desire to maintain and foster orthodox teaching in the Church. How can we tell the difference between desperate power grabs and genuine concern for the spiritual needs of the faithful – which includes a thorough understanding of Church teaching and Christian belief and practice?
Use Archbishop Martin’s concept of Truth – which, by the way, is Jesus’ – as a guide. Do those proclaiming the “truth” seem as open to being purified as they are intent on “purifying” you?
Jim Philipps (3rd millennium pilgrim)