A condensed version of this article was first published in the New York Times in April 2010.
Cries for the Pope to step down over the clergy abuse scandal are not about righting wrongs, but about silencing a man and a church. The attempts of the media to drop this crisis at the Vatican’s door will fail because God, not man, is in control. Jesus himself said, “Blessed are you when people insult you and say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”
Pope Benedict and the Catholic Church have tried valiantly to defend a biblical understanding of sexuality, marriage, and the family from the onslaught of our secular society. This society not only tolerates but celebrates all kinds of evil under the guise of diversity. The media is not content with persecuting the Catholic Church; its ultimate aim is to destroy people’s faith in God. First the family, and now faith itself, is under attack.
Though non-Catholic, I have met the Pope several times and always marveled at his faith. This faith is more than a feeling; it is a conviction that mandates both speech and action. It has earned him life-long hatred and opposition. In spite of this, he has met evil with good, and advocated for peace by forgiving.
In his letter to the Irish church, the Pope makes it clear that he is ashamed of the church’s failings, and that he has taken concrete steps to address the abuses which have been revealed. Yet he is right in noting that no victim will be helped by exploiting scandal.
Jesus condemns sin, but then points to forgiveness. True compassion for a victim includes helping him forgive his transgressor so that he can move on with his life. Without such forgiveness, healing can never take place.
Instead of targeting the Pope, we should begin to address the root causes of sexual abuse – a society and an entertainment industry that will cross any boundary for the sake of making money.
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