A merciful church 2017

Seeing the Catholic Church as a merciful church, Pope Francis extended that mercy to priests convicted of pedophilia. Instead of defrocking, Pope Francis overruled the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and instead gave The Rev. Mauro Inzoli, clemency. Unfortunately, new evidence has emerged and Inzoli is now facing a second trial for the abuse of another victim. Two other priests were sentenced to penalties including a lifetime of penance and prayer and removal from public ministry, while others were reprimanded and sent back to their parish.

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said, “The Holy Father understands that many victims and survivors can find any sign of mercy in this area difficult. But he knows that the Gospel message of mercy is ultimately a source of powerful healing and of grace.”

In March 2017, Marie Collins, an abuse victim, left the Pontifical Commission for the protection of Minors out of frustration. She said “cultural resistance” at the Vatican as one reason, adding “it is devastating in 2017 to see these men can still put other concerns before the safety of children and vulnerable adults.”

Pope Frances has said in the past that “pedophilia is a severe neurological disease”

Turning on the light

Some say that bringing pedophilia out into the open is the only way of finding those who prefer children as sexual objects.

Some experts claim it is a biological affinity for unlined skin versus the traditional fertility others see in the female form which explains why most pedophiles are men. It is only in recognizing and helping those afflicted individuals can true healing happen. In addition, making the pedophile feel safe about coming out is most important so they can seek the help they need without consequence of admitting their preference.

An ongoing series

I honestly thought my four part series was over until I read about Pope Frances' statement about pedophilia being a disease and how practitioners can be redeemed. I was stunned to discover that many convicted priests have been sent to other parishes where they continued the pattern of harming children. In many cases, priests used their power to subjugate these children then threatened them with hell should they disclose what has taken place.

To me, it means little if a person has the wrong brain connection or was just born this way. I don’t care if someone has mercy or feels that forgiveness is the only way out of a world filled with such horror. I am here to tell Pope Frances that even though I have forgiven the person who hurt me (not church related), no child should be burdened with such memories. For if that is the conclusion we must draw, that pedophilia is a disease or a condition that may or may not be the perpetrators’ fault, we discount the horror, fear, and shame that haunts innocent victims throughout their lives. It is shameful to forgive pedophiles then send them out to harm more children even if they are priests, even if they ask for forgiveness and even if they promise to never act out again.

I felt compelled to write this article as this will serve as a reminder to myself of all the children hurt by the very men sworn to protect their fragile souls. Pedophiles and their victims may forgive and be forgiven if such grace is granted. However we must honor those innocent victims who have been harmed by The Church by doing the right thing. If this means tearing down the church and rebuilding her then so be it. To continue on as before is nothing short of a heinous crime against the most vulnerable of human beings in our care.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4