Thursday, May 20, 2004

From blog correspondent Lee Penn
‘Diogenes’ on the inversion of forgiveness by guilty RC bishops

Healing & Forgiveness: a Primer

Object lesson

A priest convicted of public indecency last year is returning to the ministry next week, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati announced today. ... Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk reaffirmed that the church demands and that he expects priests to live in celibate chastity. However, he noted, the Gospel also calls for healing and forgiveness.


Case A: Say my neighbor's children, not liking the sound of my last name, pitch rocks through my living room window and yell insults. My sons grab baseball bats and start to head out the door to thrash the aggressors. I stop them and remind them that the Gospel calls for forgiveness, and as Christians we should not only forswear vengeance for wrongs suffered but accept injuries as a step toward reconciliation.

Case B: My children, not liking the sound of my neighbor's last name, pitch rocks through his living room window and yell insults at him. When my neighbor comes over to complain of my sons' mischief and asks that I punish them and pay for their damage, I tell him that the Gospel calls for healing and forgiveness, and insinuate that it is un-Christian of him to seek retribution.

Got the picture, Excellency? Now follow me closely here: Case A is GOOD. Case B is NOT GOOD. For a Christian, forgiveness is something the injured party freely offers the man who inflicts the injury, not an obligation the injurer exacts from the man he injured.

Now comes the tricky part, the conclusion few bishops seem able to grasp: if I use my Roman collar to gain your son's trust and then rape him, it's NOT GOOD for me to lecture you on your duty of forgiveness and reconciliation. And the same goes for priests who harm the faithful by gross displays of deviant sexuality.

Would a puppet show help make the point clear?

LP: Diogenes hit the target, again.

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