I’m not sure how to prepare for tomorrow. I’m trying to reconcile good memories of a priest who had a positive impact on my husband’s and my life with very unsettling facts. Both are real. Do bad acts negate the good?
Dr. Fitzgibbons, an Archdiocesan psychiatrist for whom I ghostwrote in the early 90s, had told me anger was the root of all psychological dysfunction. It made sense to me. Rape is committed out of anger rather than desire. But recently, a clergy sex abuse victim and one-time patient of this doctor, told me he disagreed. He believes extreme selfishness is the cause.
It takes just a quick review of our own motives for sinning to come to the same conclusion. Relate that idea of selfishness to the priests removed from ministry for anything from “boundary issues” to sexual abuse. A priest’s homosexuality or failing to be celibate is the least of it. It’s the harming of others emotionally, physically and spiritually out of self-interest while representing Jesus that most find egregious.
I wonder if any of the priests not being returned to ministry will acknowledge the harm they’ve caused and if they’ll seek forgiveness.
Where do we and these priests find absolution? Not in three Hail Mary’s and one Our Father. I believe it can be found in the opposite of self-interest.
I wish the hierarchy believed the same.