The last week here in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has been disturbing, to say the very least. I debated whether or not I wanted to post anything on this, whether or not I could contain my emotions enough to make sensible comments. I probably can't, but I will write this anyway.
I, like everyone else, have been aware of the sexual abuse scandal for years now. I have heard the news reports, read the articles, and read the church statements. However, none of that fully prepared me for the actual documents. It's one thing to "know" what was going on, it's quite another to read it in black and white, in the perpetrators own handwriting. All the notes back and forth, discussing how to avoid letting the information out, how to avoid prosecution against the sick, perverted men that should have been rotting in a prison cell instead of an Arizona facility being counseled. It broke my heart, made me sick, and in the end made me really angry.
These leaders that we trusted failed us. They not only didn't protect the least of us, they actively conspired to continue the farce. The angry, vengeful part of me hopes that Rome strips them of any and all faculties and the Los Angeles DA is able to convict them on criminal charges. Regardless of what earthly punishment may be brought forth, I know that eventually they will have to face God and answer for their sins. Somehow, I don't think that the "no one told me any better" excuse will suffice.
I held tight to my anger, even as I went to mass on Sunday. I knew the Archbishop's letter would be read, and I was curious as to how our priest would handle it and how the people would react. But first, the readings. Paul trying to explain love to the Corinthians. At first I mentally scoffed, thinking how inappropriate a reading about love was for the current situation. But the more I listened, the more I thought about it, I realized it was absolutely appropriate. Why? Because that is what our Church is. It is Love. It is not lies, deceit, cover-ups. It is not the arrogance or perversions of men. It is Love because it is Christ. That is what our faith, our Church was founded upon - Truth and Love. Men making sinful choices does not and should not change our faith.
Am I still angry? Heck yeah! I still want to see justice served. My biggest hope is that people will understand that this is NOT a representation of our Church. I pray that people realize that these few disgusting individuals are the exception, not the rule. I once allowed human failings to drive me from the Church and I will not make that mistake again. I will not allow the humanity of the church dictate my spirituality. I remain a proud Catholic.