The Cardinal McCarrick Situation

The Cardinal McCarrick situation is a painful story. Anyone in touch with media headlines today cannot escape the still unfolding of the story about disgraced former Cardinal McCarrick, aka “Uncle Ted”.

Among many other things for me, it evokes memories of 2002 and guilt by association. One day, passing through the Atlanta airport, I was confronted with a smirking “Are you one of them?”

But that is nothing compared to the wounds it rips open in those who have been victims of abuse or not listened to when they tried to speak up. Over the years I have walked with victims whose lives were destroyed by events they came to realize were still buried deep within them. I know for some it was too much to cope with. They ended their lives.

At his request, I walked with a Bishop as he tried to listen to the pain of his people in public hearings. I have also walked with abusers. Some never grasped the enormity of what they did. Others struggle to this day with the awareness of what they did.

Today there are fresh and more pointed questions. Who knew, when… why did they not act…?

Grasping for perspective

I have been grasping for perspective. I thought of Watergate and the lessons we thought we learned. I thought of some of the scandalous men who succeeded the first Pope, Peter. Then something struck me that I had never before thought of.

Judas… the reaction of the Apostles!

It hit me. He was one of Jesus’ inner circle. Of course, I have thought of Judas before. He betrayed Jesus… But I never thought of how he also betrayed those who had come to believe in Jesus.

Then the questions flooded in!

  • Had the other eleven seen signs?
  • Had they questioned his role as money keeper?
  • Did they second-guess themselves when they realized they had missed the signals or not spoken out?
  • And, perhaps a more difficult question… What did Jesus know and when?

Here we are two thousand years later asking similar questions.

The scriptures don’t address those questions. We will probably never know the answers to those questions.

What We Do Know

We know that each of us will have our own reactions. Reactions that will range from paralysis to fiery action. I knew I had to write.

As I followed the many things being written, I came across a piece in the Catholic Register that lists a range of practical things that can be done.

What we also know is that after a period of paralysis and bewilderment the apostles picked themselves up and did what Jesus asked them to do. They continued his mission to “bring good news to all“… “wash one another’s feet.”

We are today still called to do the same. We must each do it in our unique way in light of our history and abilities.

Whatever we do let it be in the spirit of “Do this in memory of me.”

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