Despite how it looks, I have actually not been an underachiever with this blog – at least not deliberately. Turns out there were technical problems at Blogger and I hadn’t bothered to check in for a few days. But that’s not what’s unbelievable.
Truly unbelievable would be the Vatican, which, earlier this week, had the sheer gall to allow – excuse me, endorse – Cardinal Bernard Law (the same Cardinal Bernard Law who assumed the ostrich’s stance during one of the most high-profile cases of pedophilia in the Catholic Church) presiding over a mass in honour of the late pontiff. Now, I’m sorry, but…how can I couch this nicely…WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY THINKING?!!?!!?
At a time when the Catholic Church should be cleaning house and ensuring that the next pope has the fortitude to stand up for the truth in every sense of the word – moral, spiritual, ethical, legal – this is nothing short of a stinging slap in the face for victims who suffered at the hands of John Geoghan and priests like him who abused their power; suffered essentially at the hands of decision-makers like Law and now, it seems, the Vatican itself. Their wounds, never properly healed because no one was ever really made to take responsibility, are now gaping open again.
The message is clear: the Church does not take seriously the trauma that has been inflicted on these victims of sexual abuse, who were all innocent children at the time of the crimes. The Vatican has tried to sweep the whole deal under the carpet by paying off accusers to the tune of US$100m. And now, the Vatican rewards Law’s behaviour by putting him front and centre for the whole world to see. Apparently, if you close your eyes to the wrong-doing happening all around you, you may get stripped of your post as Archbishop of Boston – but (thumbs up!) you will be transferred to Rome to serve as archpriest of the St. Mary Major Basilica – which is, ironically, one of the most well recognized churches dedicated to Our Lady. It seems pedophilia (or at least pretending it doesn’t exist) pays.
If Cardinal Law had one shred of respect for his priestly vows, his Church, or the suffering of the victims, he would have done the right thing and declined. But it seems as if his need for absolution is greater than the greater good. In 2002, he apologized for “decisions which led to suffering”. Yet, here we are in 2005 and he has successfully managed to make that apology even more hollow by making yet another decision that has compounded that suffering. A scary thought that he is one of the Cardinals eligible to vote for the next pope. Even scarier that the Church is still making like an ostrich.