Disagreement with Fr. Rolheiser's "How to Respond" to abuse crisis

Every week I look forward to Fr. Rolheiser's column. After reading “How to Respond,” I find myself in disagreement. Father suggests that we should look to Mary at the cross to seek how we should respond to the current revelations of clergy sexual abuse.

The Blessed Mother is always the one I go to in times of trouble and uncertainty. Always she does one thing. She points to her son. Every question is always answered by pointing us to Christ.

Fr. Rolheiser says that Christ assumes our guilt so that no one looking at the three crosses on Calvary can perceive the non-guilty. All are rendered the same.

Thanks to Mary we can actually see that difference, hear that difference. Nailed to the cross, abandoned by his companions, the just ordained first bishops of the Church.

Scourged and beaten and finally crucified by the Romans, Christ gives us the only example of what we should do after we put our “mouth to the dust.” Christ forgives the Romans, forgives the Apostles, and forgives us.

In all the years we have been dealing with this scandal, we have tried many approaches. First, the second great shame, we lied and covered up. Second, we paid huge ransoms — we tried to buy back our good name with money.

Now, with the “weeping and gnashing of teeth” we wail in anger, shame, and revenge. We revile and deeply desire the hardest and most severe punishment of the perpetrators. Across this great divide we await vindication and the soothing words, “You are not to blame.”

Who are we trying to comfort, the victims or ourselves? We do not like to feel the shame that accompanies these revelations and we want it to go away.

It is natural to harbor and even nurture anger and hatred against those who hurt us and those we love. However, anger and hatred are a cancer to our physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

No amount of money or sincere apologies will repair the harm done to these innocent victims.  Only one thing will begin that healing. Follow Mary's hand pointing to her son. Hear his words, “Father, forgive them,” and do the same.

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