The McCarrick Sexual Abuse Scandal, the Question of Who is to Blame: The Church is a Hospital

Thoughts on the Scandal

I remember my heartbreak over the sexual abuse scandal, when it broke a little over a year ago.  As survivors came forward, it was clear that there was something rotten within the heads of the Catholic Church and in the Vatican. Mccarrick was subsequently defrocked (in February of this year.)

My conversation with friends about the state of the Church as this scandal was unfolding was basically the same thing: heartbreak.  The decades-long crisis cut across generations, denominations, states, and countries.

Despite my disgust at the state of the unity of the Catholic Church, and my literal distance from the abuse crisis, my conviction is in staying with the Church and focusing on her beauty, even in her darkest times.

The biggest question, in my humble opinion, is to ask who is to blame?

Cardinal Dinardo stated in the wake of the scandal, "Innocent men may be tainted by false accusation, or guilty men may be left to repeat the sins of the past."

Our job in this situation is to find out who the guilty men (and women) are, and to bring them to justice.  The only way to cleanse the Church of Christ of this filth is to bring light to darkness, and hope to the oppressed.

Should we solve injustice with injustice?

The purpose of my writing is to engage with all things entertainment. Books, music, film, visual art, plays, and live performance art.

Political discussions are not the central focus of my writing.

Art engages with the question: how are actual people living their actual lives? If we live in the political bubble, we do not have to stop to ask the question of ourselves: how am I living my actual life?

I believe that political dissection and thinking about this nonstop can lend itself to an angry disposition or an angry mental perspective.  Seeing bad as "out there" rather than within, and denying the need to dissect our own failings and shortcomings and turn away from these tendencies, can lead to its own type of uncaring lostness.

In the case of the sexual abuse scandal, and in the wake of the sexual revolution and thus, the sexual brokenness that we see in film, art, and books, we need an antidote and a workable solution. I believe the solution will never lie with debate, or casting blame on people who- although guilty- need a Healer more than they need a Judger.  This is not to discredit my first statement that we should bring the guilty to justice.  However, in this day and age, we need not look further from culture to see why people imitate the art of sexual brokenness that they see infiltrating the art and culture all around them.

I truly believe that it is adding another injustice to this injustice to stay in an attitude of judgment.  In the ongoing crises within the church and definitely our culture, we need to be careful in our dealings with those who have not experienced conversion, and those who call evil good and good evil.

In his book From Brokenness to Community, Jean Vanier says:

“And if the child feels loved, the body is relaxed, the eyes are bright, there is a smile on the face; in some way the flesh becomes “transparent.” A child that is loved is beautiful. But what happens when children feel they are not loved? There is tension, fear, loneliness and terrible anguish, which we can call “inner pain,” the opposite of “inner peace.” Children are too small and weak to be able to fend for themselves; they have no defense mechanisms. If a child feels unloved and unwanted, he or she will develop a broken self-image. I have never heard any of the men or women whom we have welcomed into our community criticize their parents, even though many of them have suffered a great deal from rejection or abandonment in their families. Rather than blaming their parents, they blame themselves. “If I am not loved, it is because I am not lovable, I am no good. I am evil.” 

In his book Becoming Human, Jean Vanier says:

“Community is a sign that love is possible in a materialistic world where people so often either ignore or fight each other. It is a sign that we don't need a lot of money to be happy--in fact, the opposite.” 

Ultimately, the church is a hospital. We should always  treat others the way we want to be treated.  If it were me, I would rather someone love me in the midst of my brokenness. I would prefer acceptance which leads to a light in the darkness. And this light is forgiveness. I would prefer friendship and open discussion rather than hatred and fear. How can we begin to view the culture as a place for redemption, and the church as a place for complete healing?

see more at


Popular posts from this blog

The Memorare


10 Minute Daily Retreat: 7 Months, 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit