Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Harvard Educated Inner City Catholic Priest Makes Observation on How We Handle The Sex Abuse Crisis

I talked about this GREAT Catholic priest story at Harvard Magazine Highlights An Awesome Alumni (86) - A Inner City Catholic Priest earlier. I am not sure from the article if Lawrence has a inner city or indeed the whole city is a inner city. Thus the title.

I mentioned there was a sexual abuse comment he made I wanted to do in another post. I wanted to do that because 99 percent of that story is not about that painful topic and needs to be heard.

Still at The Father Father Paul O’Brien’s tough ministry in Lawrence, Massachusetts I think he makes an important observation.

...Once back in New England, O’Brien was a parochial vicar at the affluent, suburban St. Bernard’s parish in Concord, Massachusetts, before working for six years as secretary for pastoral services for Cardinal Bernard Francis Law ’53 at the Boston archdiocese. He was assigned to Lawrence in 2001.
Law resigned in 2002 under pressure from the clerical sex-abuse scandal. “The hangover from that crisis is going to be very long,” O’Brien says. “There were the most grave, sinful, and terrible crimes, and there was a lot of incompetence among leaders handling these things.” In Lawrence, however, where people “get so used to processing right and wrong and sin and corruption, pretty much on a daily basis, the feeling is, ‘This is what happened and this has been what’s done to address it, and we’re OK going forward,’” he adds. “It’s harder for suburban people to do that, and harder for people who are politicized. People here are pursuing faith as faith and not imposing other things on it. The real issue is: what are we doing about living God’s word and sharing it with other people?”...

I think there is a lot to that. It does not mean "move on" lets forget about it. No doubt people in Parish might have been affected too. But it means deal with the problem but deal with other things too.

In the Burbs and other places outside the inner evil we have our own evils we do but we have a bad habit of making them less evil. We put buffers between ourselves and the consequences of that evil. In Lawrence with these problems it's much more difficult to do that. Thus they see how really complex this world of sinners and saints really is.

People in Lawrence really don't have the time to feel the need to use the abuse of children to further every possible theological or political agenda they want to pursue. They deal with the problem and put it in it's proper place and get on trying to live and spread the faith.

In other words if in most discussions regarding the Church on immigration, birth control, woman ordination, abortion, economic policy, liturgy, liturgy translations, gay marriage, sex outside marriage , etc Child abuse is brought up that might show we are thinking of this in the wrong way. All the while we are patting ourselves on the back.

To much of the child abuse crimes we saw are used as a conversation stopper or some gotcha moment. Which seems kinda of dirty in itself.

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