Tuesday, June 04, 2002

I guess you know that you are a pariah when... you have to go to someone else's blogsite to get feedback on your own.

I have offended people. I have probably offended a lot of people and for this, I am truly sorry. I'm not surprised, but I am sorry.

One correspondent feels that I am unwilling to acknowledge that Cardinal Law made even the tiniest of mistakes. Shoot, even the Cardinal admits he made mistakes. After my defense of him, do any of you really think that I would call him a liar?

I not only think that the Cardinal has made mistakes, I'll even concede that he may have sinned. The Church teaches us that there are seven ways in which one can participate in another's sin. I listed three of them in my post on Solidarity. To be honest, I have no idea whether any of these sins apply to the Cardinal. I'm not his confessor. I don't know the facts. I don't expect that I will know the facts in this lifetime. It's not my job to judge the man. That is between him and his God. Nor is it my job to rule on his competence to serve as bishop. Surprisingly, no one died and named me pope.

I suspect that my personal sins may be much greater than the Cardinal's. I thank God that my sins have been forgiven.

Perhaps my sins make me too sympathetic to the Cardinal. I admire the man. I know what it is like to sin. I know what it is like to confront the consequences of my own sin. I know what it is like to walk through the jeers of the self-righteous and to know that I thoroughly deserve their abuse.

I don't feel sorry for the Cardinal. I don't say the abuse is undeserved. I do say that he has my respect. It is easier to walk or even run away. It is easier to spill your blood for everyone to see, and give the crowd the show they demand. It would make no difference. There isn't enough blood... there will never be enough blood to satisfy vengeance. This is why I would leave justice and judgment to God.

I don't address the plight of the victims, as victims, on my blog. To me, this would be a desecration of their pain. I do address the issue of responsibility and guilt. I do this because my personal experience convinces me that the only escape from the pain of victimhood is found in the freedom of adult responsibility. It lies in owning one's own life (the good, the bad and the ugly). These are things that my Mother, the Church, has taught me. Here is the root of my peace and my joy.

It's possible that I misunderstand what the Church has taught me. It is very likely that the lessons She provides each of us differs according to our needs. I offer my voice as one among many.

I suspect that our sexual 'scandal' is fueled by our own confused and perhaps conflicted attitudes toward the predominant culture. By this, I don't mean that the abuse charges are bogus. I think that they are painfully real. Yet, I think that we hide behind our outrage to avoid dealing with our own compliance in sin and in a culture of death.

It appears to me that many of us have become Americans first, and Catholics second. We believe in the moral superiority of democracy and the sanctity of trial by jury. Many of us have a greater faith in the justice of our government than in the justice of our Church. I am not one who feels this way.

I have faith in the Church. I believe in the Freedom of the Church. I know that this is a principle that has proven itself over time. This is the reason that I seek viable Catholic methods for dealing with clerical misconduct. I am not sure what those answers are but I do know that we have 2000 years of experience to draw upon.

For the record, I haven't said anything on behalf of Archbishop Weakland, because there are others to defend him. If there weren't, you would have heard from me.


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