Thank you for your sympathy for the people who have been abused in the Catholic Church and for the shoddy treatment they have been given over the years – not being believed, being told they should say nothing, being blamed for the scandal that has shocked us, for being ignored by major and minor officials. You were glad our parish newsletter printed their letter to the Tablet in response to the Independent Inquiry and that I spoke in support of the victims and brought them into our prayer at mass.
Last week the parish newsletter printed the opening paragraphs of our Bishops’ Conference statement in which they “have stood together in profound shame” and speak of “our sorrow and contrition before God.” Not all the bishops have been directly involved, we know, but they have chosen to share the shame of those who were truly guilty. Some of you were glad at a united statement but others puzzled that innocent and guilty are brought together. As long as they all work to bring justice to the abused, who have had to wait so long to be heeded, we can accept their common shame even though we don’t understand it. No one wants to condemn the innocent.
Letters in the Catholic press are scathing and make sad reading. We have a crisis. When/If Rome confesses its guilt and sorrow and shame (in terms of numbers, other countries have far more crimes the Catholic Church has tried to ignore and hide) we may begin to heal. The
Church has been wrong, morally and criminally wrong. Our weeping children and women have been victims of the sexual appetites of unworthy priests, bishops and cardinals: that was known about for so long.
The shame is evident: we await the sorrow and repentance and justice.
(29 November 2020)