May 12th, 2010: Forgiveness does not replace justice: Pope
“Forgiveness does not replace justice.”
I pray that these timely words from Pope Benedict VI are indicative of the path he will pursue in addressing the plague of clerical sexual abuse which is afflicting the Church. Yes, by all means talk of forgiveness, and Heaven knows there has been no lack of chatter about forgiveness when it comes to clerical sexual abuse, but never never talk forgiveness at the expense of justice. The crimes are horrific. The sins are mortal. Justice must be done.
This is the first time I have felt hopeful that perhaps the Pope will indeed act in a manner befitting the gravity of the situation. If that is indeed the case, he has a difficult road ahead. Those who would protect the sexual predators at all costs are not about to relinquish their power without a battle. Ditto the countless dissident clergy and bishops who brazenly ride the coattails of the scandal to impart their dissenting opinions to an unwitting public via an ll frequently ill-informed and unquestioning media.
We shall see. But, timely words of Catholic wisdom: “Forgiveness does not replace justice.” A tad counter-cultural in these days where rote apologies are a dime a dozen and victims are all too often told to button up, or thoughtlessly admonished to forgive and forget.
Meanwhile, pray for the Holy Father that he will have the grace, courage and will to do what is right for the victims and the Church.
Enough for now,