In identifying the problem in this way, the Pope continues his critique of the problems that secularization, in the sense of a divorcing of spirituality from our lives, has brought to our world. In identifying the problem in this manner, without explicitly saying so, he sharply disagrees with secular critiques of the problem. He does not say that these cases of sexual abuse are the result of the requirement of celibacy by Catholic religious. The problem he argues is the result of spiritual and moral laxity. This logic seems to be in keeping with the larger position of the Church with regard to human sexuality; the human being is not only about physical desires. The human being is much more than his or her physical desires, and has to necessarily restrain oneself from what is known to be wrong.
There is another side to his analysis of the problem. The Pope rather appropriately points out, that “that the problem of child abuse is peculiar neither to
It has been observed that given the rash of abuse controversies that seem to be hitting the Catholic Church, spreading from the initial and highly-publicized scandals in the
The manner in which the testimonies of the abused in
Toward this end, let us redirect our attention once more on the extract already referred to above. “…inadequate procedures for determining the suitability of candidates for the priesthood and the religious life; insufficient human, moral, intellectual and spiritual formation in seminaries and novitiates; a tendency in society to favour the clergy and other authority figures; and a misplaced concern for the reputation of the Church and the avoidance of scandal, resulting in failure to apply existing canonical penalties and to safeguard the dignity of every person”.
This extract seems to ring particularly true in the context of the continuing accusations that the hierarchy and clergy of the Church (through errant members) have participated in the destruction of the Goan environment, and the embarrassment that was the official response of the Archbishopric to the Dogui Bodmas incident.
When speaking of our ‘misplaced concern for the reputation of the Church and the avoidance of scandal’ the Pope seems to suggest our attention in the direction of the image of the pilgrim church. The Church is a human institution struggling to follow in the footsteps of its founder. The hierarchy should not loose sight of this fact, and open itself to suffer scandal and ensuing persecution, especially if it is for the larger goal of safeguarding ‘the dignity of every person’. We should not forget that it is these persons, in the singular and the collective, who make up the body of the Church. The infringement of their dignity leaves the body of the Church itself, wounded.For the Goan Catholic, as with Catholics across the world, the Big Boss has spoken. His letter while focused firmly on the sin of sexual abuse, speaks to contexts beyond sexual abuse. Do we hear it speaking to us?
The title of this blog has been taken from the title of a post on the blog titled Whispers in the Loggia. The phrase is an extract from the larger Latin phrase 'Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini' that translates to 'Blessed who comes in the name of the Lord'.