Friday, May 29, 2009

God's Gift to Us: Mothers, and Mother Church

I am a mother. In my chosen vocation, I have had to study human nature, in order to accurately and effectively correct errors and character flaws in my children. As a result, I have had to learn to read faces, interpret meanings, read between lines, stop mind games and call out my children when they were splitting hairs, deflecting blame, redirecting bad behavior onto their siblings and overall trying to avoid facing responsibility for what they have done.

I can do this well and it doesn't stop with my children.

I am patient with my children in correcting this behavior. I am not so good with tolerating it among adults. My husband knows it well, and has had to learn how direct an American can be. This has actually helped him face some horrid memories. He has learned I have very little patience for excuses. Excuses from him, or from anyone who has done evil.

This generation seems to be the generation of "It's not my fault!" As a mother, I have learned that the first kid that denies doing anything wrong is the one to focus the investigation upon. Human nature propels people to deny wrongdoing when they are guilty in order to convince, first and foremost, themselves. Consequently, the current heirarchy within the Catholic Church, being a reflection of the current age, are also faced with the same flaws in character. "It's not my fault. I didn't do it. You can't prove it. But even if I did do it, noone would believe you because I'm more important than you are." As happened in the Boston diocese, the Irish Catholic Church is echoing the same mantra and making all the same mistakes.

Since posting my last blog about the sadness behind smiling Irish eyes, certain individuals have notified me I may be in violation of some laws. As I feared, there are people who are more interested in preserving their image than in preserving their souls. Sadly, it seems the Church has trodden down the path of legalities once again, and the actual truth is meaningless. All that really matters is whether it can be proved in a courtroom. Ironic, when one considers the fact that the perpetrators know what they did and know how often they did it, yet they preach to everyone else the importance of being honest to oneself. If they are so concerned about the image of the Church, wouldn't it make more sense for them to meet personally with each victim, and admit their transgressions? Wouldn't it be better to take responsibility and face the consequences than to hide behind lawyers, website apologies, and public relation spokesmen? Most of all, wouldn't it be better to deal with the temporal punishment, than the eternal one?

Last I checked, the Catholic Church teaches that Confession absolves a person of sin and eliminates the eternal punishment, but Holy Mother Church also teaches that avoiding the temporal consequences is not the objective of receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In other words, if you are trying to get out of the consequences, can do! (Notice how the term "Holy MOTHER Church" seems to have a parallel in this article?)

Truth be told, they fear the very truth itself. Mirrors can be intimidating, and many learn not to gaze at their own reflection, for fear of what they might have to face. A mother knows it is worse to ignore the problem in the child, as it has a snowball effect. As my 96 year old grandma, a deeply devout Catholic convert, often said, "Maria, you have to be cruel to be kind." For those in the Catholic Church who have sinned while acting as an agent of the Catholic Church the sin is the scandal, not the fact that it now coming out in public. While hiding behind the rationalization that Jesus said not to bring scandal on the Church, they put a lie in the mouth of Christ. They distort Jesus' meaning, and demand people put up or shut up, in order to preserve an artificial image of the Catholic Church. But Jesus didn't want that. He simply was telling us not to DO anything that is scandalous, not to avoid taking the responsibility for doing it!

Unfortunately, we still live in this world and the people running the Catholic Church are human beings, full of the same character flaws that a mother sees and corrects in her own children. If we, the Church, want to grow and learn from the horrendous reality we face from the Ryan Report and beyond, we must be willing to step forward and call people out on the things being done in the Name of Holy Mother Church. As a good Mother, she knows it is better to let us face a little skinned knee than to have the injury develop into an infection that causes the total loss of the leg.

It will take some time to encourage those who know the abusers to come forward and speak out. But it must be done, if we are to make a better Church for our children and grandchildren. After all, the Church is built on us. We are the Church, the Body of Christ. If one part of the Body becomes infected, the whole body is affected. Only when we address the actual problem in the sick part of the Church will we see better health for the whole Body of Christ.

In other words, listen to your Mama and take your medicine.

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