SEXUAL ABUSE AND SCANDALOUS GRACE
The crime offends us and our sense of humanity. Children are precious, and there are few things more universally heinous than hurting a child.
Then the cover-up by Catholic leaders offends our sense of justice. If you can’t trust leaders to discipline their own, who can you trust?
The result has threatened our faith. Not just in a denomination, but in God Himself. Numerous generations grew up the victims of the crime and cover-up. Not only that, but an entire other generation has grown up equating the Priest with abuse, never knowing a time before the stereotype.
And many, if not all, of us are left asking the following questions:
- How does one reintegrate an abuser back into society?
- How does one regain faith in an institution that betrayed its followers?
- How does one learn to trust again a God that allowed it all to happen?
Some may say the answer to all three questions is “You can’t, so don’t bother trying.” But we are People of the Second Chance, and our answer is “with audacious grace.”
No institution is beyond reform. God is never out of touch with our pain -- it is through the doorway of forgiveness that the wounds of the victimized begin to heal. And no person, no matter their heinous crime, is ever beyond the reach of grace.
Yes, that last one might be especially scandalous -- hard to say, and harder to accept. But it takes a scandalous act of forgiveness to confront a scandal, right?
These are not easy discussions, and there are no easy answers. But let's be brave enough to talk about it, both pro and con.
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