We pray with the people of Ireland. So much good might come from Pope Francis’ visit – but much harm if he does not hear the anger of hurts caused and justice to be done. He cannot smile or wave away pleasantly all that still needs to be healed in Ireland and throughout the Catholic world. There must be full recognition of the hidden misery and evil our Church authorities wanted to keep hidden.
We pray for all who have left the Church. Who can blame them? If ever we are to see the horror of religion, in contrast to the love of God, this, for Catholics, has been the time. For Muslims it is their killers, Daesh (Islamic State), defiling their love of God: for us, it is our institutional corruption in protecting the Church’s name by ignoring the abused and protecting or hiding the abusers. In Myanmar, Burma, we see equally sickening institutional prejudice against the Rohyngia slaughtered or forced to flee in the name of the purity of Buddhism.
No wonder the world detests religion for what is done in its name. So do I. But I love God with all my heart and I hope you do, too. God is true religion – love of one another, one human family, justice and peace. Church, Synagogue, Mosque, Monastery are only true religions when they reflect God. When lust for power, ambition, self-serving, greed, corruption promotes the wrong men (always the men), as we see in our world, we have bad religion.
Pope Francis will hear this in Ireland and speak his sorrow and his support for those who want and know how to put things right. We are one with the people of Ireland in wanting to bring healing and we look to Pope Francis to lead us in every part of the Catholic world where there has been this extraordinarily cruel abuse of children and the coverup for their abusers that is impossible to understand.
What were the bishops thinking when they knew and did nothing? We pray for them as they come to terms with the horror they perpetuated.
God bless us all, judges and judged,
(25th August 2018)