He said in reply, "I tell you, if they keep silent, the stones will cry out!"
As he drew near, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, "If this day you only knew what makes for peace--but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides."
-- Luke 19: 39-42 (Verses 39/40 were read at the Procession of the Palms on Passion Sunday.)
It has been a difficult couple of weeks for me. I've been watching the news more closely than ever before in my life--between health care and the scandals involving the Church in Ireland and Germany (and now again in the US). Last weekend was a joyful respite from my worries about the Church. With a guest in town, I was too busy to read obsessively the news. But, Monday rolled around and I fell back into the cycle.
When I was in highschool, I was pretty obsessed with Politics. We were an argumentative bunch, and being interested in and to a certain extent involved in politics gave weight to our arguments, and made us all feel like we were part of something more. When I got to college life and literature distracted me, and since then I have spent my time trying to avoid politics like the plague. (Its difficult to do in Washington, but so far I have succeeded.)
Two weekends ago, I felt drawn towards the news about the HCR Bill like a magnet, and thus began the old cycle of obsessively following news until I felt depressed and inadequate to confront the task at hand. Sunday evening at mass I was reminded to "rejoice" and I tried to focus on the truly important things.
And then the shit hit the fan. Major newspapers across the US and the world began a coordinated attack on the Church. And make no mistake--it is a coordinated attack, if not consciously than supernaturally, for there is great good happening in the Church today, and the Devil is surely out to destroy that good.
Make no mistake, the sexual abuse of minors is vile, and utterly reprehensible, and I mourn for the innocence stolen from these child's hearts. There is plenty to fault the Church with in its past handling of the sexual abuse of minors. But we should also credit them with the great good that has been accomplished in rooting out these evils. Great strides have been takes and new measures enacted that will help the Church in the future. Reputable sources have said again and again that Pope Benedict, above all other men in the Vatican, has been responsible for the great work that has been done in rooting out this "filth" (his word).
This, then, is where I am most distressed. Not only do the stories sensationalize and trivialize the real suffering of those involved, and not only do they fail to report accurately on the proceedings of individual cases, but they also slander our shepherd, who is a good man dedicated to serving the Church--and has never minced words with pedophiles (see paragraph #7 in his Letter to Ireland).
Much of my anger about the articles has faded. The facts have been corrected elsewhere (check out my quick list below of sources I consider invaluable)--though they still have not been corrected by those who perpetrated them (especially not the New York Times). And this battle is by no means over--we must be watchful and diligent.
For my part, I can't take the media attention anymore. When Father read the words of the reading from St. Luke quoted above at mass on Sunday, I could hardly hold back the tears. Which the whole word is crying out in anger (some of it deserved), I just want to leap into the defense of Pope Benedict. I'll be that stone, crying out to praise the Lord and thank Him for his blessings.
To that end, I am really enforcing a silence. I am turning off all these outside voices for the Triduum, to allow myself to be free from worry and to really rejoice in the Feast at hand. I encourage you all to do the same.
+ As pertains to the Milwaukee Case please read the article written by Fr. Thomas Brundage, who was the presiding judge on the case (and who has not been called upon as a source by any of the major news outlets!!!). (HT: Thomas Peters)this statement from the current Archbishop of Milwaukee
+ For a factual rebuttal of the specific claims of the New York Times article, please check out Fr. Raymond J. De Souza's article in National Review--this includes a timeline based on the documentation between Archbishop Weakland and the CDF.
+ John Allen is the only good thing about the National Catholic Reporter. Read his articles here and here.
+ Furthermore, keep tabs on The Anchoress as well. She is links heavily to real sources, and, as a former viticm of sexual abuse, speaks from a place none of us can imagine, with grace, circumspection, and fairness. This, I think, is the most comprehensive, powerful, prayerful, courageous and hopeful post I've read yet. UPDATE: Read this morning's post too.
Let me close with this quote from Pope Benedict on the occasion of his very first mass as Pope:
My dear friends –
at this moment I can only say:
pray for me,
that I may learn to love the Lord more and more.
Pray for me, that I may learn to love his flock more and more
– in other words, you, the holy Church,
each one of you and all of you together.
Pray for me,
that I may not flee for fear of the wolves.
Let us pray for one another,
that the Lord will carry us
and that we will learn to carry one another.
[Pope Benedict XVI, 24 April, 2005]