April 18, 2008

You know what’s great? It’s when someone lives up to the expectations – big or small – you place on them. Kinda restores your faith in humanity a little bit, and also makes you think that maybe you’re not as crazy as your family and friends think you are, or as you might suspect. And this is especially true when it comes to the Church – after all, how many times have you found out that various spiritual leaders you once respected turned out to be not only poor leaders, but not very spiritual either.

I’m talkin’ here about Pope Benedict XVI – for not only is he talkin’ the talk, but he’s walkin’ the walk. No better example of this is the fact that this extremely intelligent, humble, and, yes, holy servant of God not only has talked about the grevious fashion in which his church handled the clergy sexual abuse scandal, but he took time out, on his own initiative, to meet face to face with several victims of clergy sexual abuse from Boston, the “ground zero” of that scandal. As Michael Paulson of the Boston Globe reports:

Pope Benedict XVI, in a dramatic move likely to alter forever the image of his pontificate, met this afternoon with five victims of clergy sexual abuse from Boston.

The private meeting, which was first reported by the Globe this afternoon and has since been confirmed by the Vatican, was brokered by Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston.

The meeting took place at the papal nunciature, which is the home of the pope’s ambassador to the United States. The meeting did not appear on the pope’s schedule, but took place during the window between a Mass this morning at Nationals Park and a talk that he is to deliver later this afternoon to Catholic educators gathered at Catholic University of America.

You know, a lot of Catholics believe Pope John Paul II to be a great, if not one of the greatest, popes, but to me his pontificate will forever be stained by the way the clergy sexual abuse scandal was handled on his watch. Rather than take a firm and swift “no tolerance” stand by sacking the priests and the bishops most involved in the scandal, he not only pretty much swept it under the rug but actually aided and abetted those at the center of the crisis – for example, by allowing Boston’s Cardinal Bernard Law to take a cushy job in Rome when he really should have gone to jail.

In his desire to meet with victims of this scandal (and especially so given the fact they are from Boston), this pope’s actions obviously speak louder than any words possibly could. But let his words also speak for him:

Benedict has spoken repeatedly about the abuse crisis during his first trip to the United States as pope.

He called the crisis a cause of “deep shame,” pledged to keep pedophiles out of the priesthood and decried the “enormous pain” that communities have suffered from such “gravely immoral behavior” by priest.

He told the nation’s bishops that the crisis was “sometimes very badly handled,” and said they must reach out with love and compassion to victims. At an open air Mass on Thursday at Nationals Park, he also urged Catholic parishioners to do what they can to reach out to victims.

Sure, anyone can discount Benedict’s meeting with the victims by saying it’s the very least he could have done and that doing so didn’t require a whole lot of courage on his part. And in that regard they might well be right. But I think this humble action by the head of the Roman Catholic faith speaks volumes about the man’s heart and the priorities he has set for his pontificate. And I find myself increasingly enamored of this humble and holy leader who is not afraid to face the big issues head on.

And I’m not afraid to say that if Benedict XVI hadn’t done something of this magnitude during his visit I would have been sorely disappointed, because I’ll admit it – I expect a lot from the spiritual head of the faith tradition I choose to attend on a regular basis. I’ve found that same kind of humble and holy leadership sorely lacking at the top of both the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church, and to see it at work in the Roman Catholic Church gives this Episcopalian just another reason to believe that his journey in the direction of Rome feels like the right thing to be doing.

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 01:48 | Comments Off on Stepping Up Big Time
No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Search The Site

Recent Items


September 2021
April 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006



4 Goodboys Only

Site Info