Blog Template Theology of the Body: Los Angeles Diocese: $660 Million

Monday, July 16, 2007

Los Angeles Diocese: $660 Million

$660 million to 500 victims of sexual abuse from the Roman Catholic Church.


This makes me so sad. First, of course, for the victims and their families; we all know what even our merciful Lord Himself thought about the perpetrators of child abuse. Secondly, for the hundreds of unnamed others who were complicit in these atrocities- parents who were not home or available to attend carefully to their children, parish members who did not love their priests enought to hold them accountable, the various victims who may have complied through vices of their own. Thirdly, I am sorry for myself. As a new Catholic, it's just no fun to stand with a community whose public face involves this kind of thing. And lastly, I am sad about the personal greed that's represented by this settlement. Yes, just reparation is essential. But good grief. This vast sum of the Church's money could have been put to so many good uses in taking care of thousands of other victims of other griefs in our world.

Certainly the Church has done the right thing in handing over the exorbitant sum that was demanded for reparations. But I am waiting to hear stories of victims who complete the story of restoration by lovingly handing their settlement money over to their bishops for use in missions and ministry...

What is also interesting about this story is the extent to which the long arm of civil adjudication reaches into the formerly sacrosanct jurisdiction of the Church these days. I've just posted my thoughts on some of the legal precedents involved here.

These times of splashy, embarrasing ecclesial publicity are times that call for the churchly behavior that St. Paul talked about in I Corinthians 12: "and whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular." We Christians are ontologically or juridically members of one another; the slur on one aspect dishonors the whole, and together, deflects our common shame to the renown of our Lord. But He still freely remains the devoted Head of His sinful Body; He holds us close and relentlessly associates Himself with us even while we do terrible things. So. This is a time for following Him. It's not a time for name-calling among denominations or repudiation of "those sinning celibates." It's not even a time for muttering about bishops with whose pastoral and legal prerogatives we might disagree. It's a time for behaving like the one body that we are; for providing our own strength for the weaker parts until they are strong and gleaming again, for nursing one another back to health in the sanctuary for sinners that is Christ's Church.