Features

On carrying a scandal biblically: a response

Hand print scrawled with "Enough"Eric Horne, parishioner of St Leonards, Glen Waverley, responds to the article by Fr Ronald Rolheiser published in The Swag (Spring 2016).

I have read and studied a long and comprehensive article, On Carrying A Scandal Biblically (The Swag, Spring, 2016), at least three times. My first reaction was one of disbelief that Father Rolheiser, OMI, a theologian should write such an article which at first appears to be intended to ameliorate the culpability of priestly pedophiles and a significant number of the Church’s hierarchy. A third reading and study of the article confirmed for me this opinion. The sexual abuse of children is a criminal enormity but the systematic concealment of the crime and the protection given to the offenders for at least three decades, is an almost inconceivable criminal enormity. Crimes committed by bishops, cardinals and at least two popes have created what the author Thomas Keneally  has described as the great crisis in the Catholic Church. His recently published novel, Crimes of the Fathers, will only add to the ‘dark night of the soul ‘ to use Rolheiser’s words. This book and the forthcoming report by the  Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will both add to the existing damaged reputation of the Catholic Church and other institutions in Australia. It will be, as Rolheiser writes referring to the United States, ‘a massive crisis of credibility for a young church’.

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