Today the news is buzzing with the resignation of Catholic Cardinal Keith O’Brien after allegations have come to light of sexual advances made to other priests.
While I feel that sexual expression is normal, we are all but flesh and blood, but the issue I have is the denial and attempt to blame the victim when the O’Brien knew perfectly well what he had done and his admission coming only after it was clear that he had been caught.
As reported in The Guardian:
The former cleric says he feels that he, rather than the cardinal, has been the subject of scrutiny. “I have felt very alone and there is a tendency to become reclusive when people are trying to hunt you down.”
He said he felt particularly angered by demands that the identity of the four complainants be revealed: “To those who want to know my name I would say, what does that change? And what do you think I have done wrong?”
He said that when the four came forward to the church, they were asked to make sworn signed statements to Mennini [Antonio Mennini, the Papal Nuncio, the Vatican’s ambassador to Britain]. But they were also warned that if their complaints became public knowledge, they would cause “immense further damage to the church”. The church, he says, failed to act quickly and appropriately, adding that he fears the matter was in danger of being swept under the carpet.
The report paints a picture of damage control to protect the image of the church rather then seeking to investigate allegations that have been presented.
The Catholic Church has received significant attention after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI with reports of homosexual “infiltration” of The Vatican and many victims of sexual abuse from the hand of clergy coming to light. In many cases there are disturbing reports of cover up and victims being treated poorly.
It would appear that we are at the edge of potential healing for many people who have been mistreated by clergy.
Is the new pope going to be brave enough to address systemic issues of abuse or will the continued denial lead to further decay from the inside out. Will the abused be offered healing or will they be subjected to ongoing victimization via denial and cover-up by the same organization that caused the pain?
Time will tell. In the meanwhile let’s hope that the victims are able to address their abuse and that attempts of cover up like Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s will continue to come to light highlighting the lies and deception that appears endemic.
Yours in good health.
Dr George Forgan-Smith