Friday, April 25, 2008

What Did Benedict XVI DO??

On the sexual abuse question?

We all know he spoke about it, forcefully, both on the trip over here and during his appearances. Obviously, we do not know all of what he said--some was private. And you can bet that what was said publicly was vetted by attorneys.

Could more actions follow? Maybe. Read this firsthand account of his meeting in Washington D.C. with victims.

Bernie McDaid, 52, another Boston survivor who is a painting contractor in Boston, tried to tell his story to Pope John Paul II in 2003. He traveled to Rome but saw only Vatican officials, he told the Beacon from a Boston construction site. This time was different.

About two weeks before the papal visit, Horne and McDaid were invited to meet the pope privately with other survivors in Washington, D.C., at the residence of Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Vatican's diplomat to the U.S.

The six survivors of childhood sex abuse who accepted the invitation also were invited to the papal Mass at the new Nationals stadium before the gathering. Afterward they were whisked in a van under police escort to the meeting. Those who didn't know the other victims were introduced only by first name.

The pope entered the residence's small 25-by-15 foot chapel and immediately knelt in silent prayer. Then he spoke to the survivors for what Horne recalled was about 20 minutes. Then, each of the six had a private face-to-face visit with the pope.

A woman on the Boston archdiocesan victims' assistance staff handed the pope a book with 1,600 first names written on its pages. Cardinal Sean O'Malley explained to the pope that the list was of all victims of clerical sexual abuse in the Boston archdiocese who had asked its bishops for pastoral care. Pages were left blank to symbolize those victims who had never voiced their tragic complaints, O'Malley explained.

"The pope was shocked at the number," Horne said. "You could see the sincerity of the shock on his face. Benedict had never known that there was that many in Boston. He was stunned. So was the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Pietro Sambi. That was a moment. They do have a tough role."
O'Malley asked the pope to pray for the victims listed in the book, and the pope promised to do so.

The pope may know more about sexual abuse in the Catholic Church than most American bishops. In his previous post leading the Congregation for the Faith, he reviewed all the cases of bishops' removing abusive priests. After late 2002, American cases fell into his in-basket like a torrent.

The pope spoke for about 20 minutes, asking forgiveness and speaking of his personal shame over the depraved priests who crushed the innocence of children, Horne and McDaid said.
The most dramatic moment of the gathering came when the only woman victim's turn came for her private time with Benedict, Horne said. With all the others' heads turned to give her privacy, she stood facing the standing pope. She wept as words escaped her.

"Her sounds were filled with sorrow, like an aria," said Horne. "So sorrowful, yet the sweetest sound, as if it were being exhaled. There was complete reverence around the room. No one interrupted. No one said anything like 'it's going to be all right.' Her sobs floated around the room, settled around all of us in the room. Then it was expelled. You saw the pain in Benedict's face."

Dreher looks for the Pope to (in effect) fire all the Bishops who covered up, obfuscated, lied, and otherwise interfered with the process of justice.

(Were it only Bishops! There are plenty of local officials (cops and prosecutors) who share in the blame.)

The question: which is more painful for the genuinely-guilty Bishops: to remain in office (or in retirement) as quasi-pariahs? As Bishops and priests who obtain only the formalities of respect from their flocks, but who will no longer be really genuinely welcomed in 'respectable' company?

Or to exit public view entirely, banished to some distant encampment, never to return to their Dioceses?

Good question.


Anonymous said...

It doesn't help to have the Holy Father referring to the homosexual priests as pedophiles. Hardly any abusers were pedophiles. The prey was almost entirely male and though they were minors by law (under 18) they were not all children. From what I've read, most could have fathered children themselves.

Dad29 said...

The technical term is "ephebophiles," but "pedophiles" is close.

You understand, of course, that the "ephebo" term had to be invented after the Scandal became public.

Pedophiles were being slandered....