Written by jason santos on Monday, 5/13/2002
Cory asked: What do you think about the Catholic church "getting away" with sexual abuse for all those years and now not paying off the children they raped?
First let me start by saying that I think that the Catholic Church, at large, is not to blame. Often we have a tendency to make assumptions about larger groups of people based on the actions or words of a few. This is an important aspect to remember when considering the events surrounding the Catholic priests over the past few months. There are probably many priests who are just as appalled by the actions of these pedophiles. Chances are, most Catholics parishioners are similarly troubled by this horrible scandal as well. With this presupposition in mind, we can look at those who are at fault: those priests who are pedophiles, and those who are attempting to cover up their transgressions.
Now let me address your assertion that the Catholic Church is “getting away” with sexual abuse. I do not believe that they are really getting away with it. Although they may have, to some extent, gotten away with it in the past, it is the entire Catholic Church, and Christianity at large that are going to pay for their mistakes. No priest will ever be trusted again (and many do deserve to be trusted). Hopefully, those who committed the crime and those who are trying to cover up the priest’s wrongdoings will pay the price set by society (prison, etc.). Unfortunately, some will escape their punishment, and may even continue their abuse. We must rest assured, somehow, that what comes around, goes around. You reap what you sow. Call it Karma or whatever, it all means the same thing. They will pay for their transactions somehow, somewhere. In Scripture it says, “Vengeances is mine, says the Lord.” I believe that those priests will receive their just dues. Unfortunately, those who they abused will have to pay the price in this lifetime, with emotional, psychological, and spiritual damage.
This brings us to your second point, the money. You mentioned that the priests are not “paying off” those who they abused. There is no amount of money that could appease or change or fix or reverse what happened to those boys. Yes, money would seemingly make their lives easier, but only for a time. Eventually, they will spend their money, and find themselves with the same problems and baggage from the abuse that they had before their payoff. Americans, generally, think that the all mighty dollar fixes everything. Unfortunately, money is America’s god. Paying off those kids will not change anything. In our society, if those boys were paid a large sum of cash, society would think, “well, its O.K., they have their money, everything is back to normal.” Well it’s not back to normal. Money doesn’t appease anything; it only provides a quick fix. It’s like taking a poor, malnourished African child to Disneyland for a week and letting them run around and eat whatever they like. The child may have the time of his life, however, when that temporary utopia is over, he would be left in the same condition that he began. A payoff will not help bring healing to the boys. That should be our focus.
The reality of the situation is that transgression happen around the world, everyday, every second. Did you know that in some Asian countries there are people who go to small villages and tell families that they are going to provide factory and clerical jobs for the young children and teenagers? They tell them that they will provide shelter and food. Parents agree to this because some want a better life for their children, and others want some of the money to be sent home, so that they may provide better for those who are left behind. Do you know what really happens to those children? They are shipped, like cattle, to other countries, where they don’t know the language, and they are thrown in a small room and given just enough rice to keep them alive. Then a dozen times or more a day, adults come in those rooms and rape them. Some of these children are only 9 or 10 years old. Imagine if that was you or if that was your little sister. Everyday you would wish for your death. I know that what I just described is horribly gruesome, however, it happens everyday. My point is that no one is paying those kids off. No amount of money will ever fix the sick transgressions that happen in this world everyday. No amount of money will ever change what those priests did to those boys. Perhaps our focus should not be on “paying off” the crimes of others, and begin to turn our eyes towards a more healing solution. We need to seek a solution that seeks to restore the emotional, psychological, and spiritual damage that was done.