by The Editorial Board
All of us who are students at Boston College have grown up in a Church in which the specter of clergy sexual abuse and its cover-up has loomed ubiquitously, though waxing and waning at varying points. We have only ever known our Church as such, and here at this moment, the waxing of the crisis has again intensified.
The interweaving of the plot lines of various news stories that broke this summer have prompted a renewed outrage from the faithful on this matter. First was the revelation of the manipulative methods of the disgraced former cardinal, Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, whose propensity for grooming seminarians and young priests for his own sexual use was known and ignored by several of his peers in the episcopacy. Second was the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report cataloguing the crimes committed against more than 1000 children and adolescents at the hands of nearly 300 priests and religious over a seventy-year period across six dioceses in that state. Third and most damningly was the credible, but as-of-yet-unconfirmed, accusation of the complicity of the Holy Father himself in the continued allowance of McCarrick’s leadership over and against sanctions secretly imposed upon him during the previous pontificate.
For some decades now, the leaders of the Church have believed the threat of scandal to be a greater evil than permissiveness towards sexual abuse. We, the editorial board and staff of The Torch, condemn these failed shepherds of ours and their severe misjudgment of the good. We stand with Pope Saint Gregory the Great in saying, “It is better that scandals arise than that truth be suppressed,” for the scandal of this cover-up has been many magnitudes greater than would have been the scandal of knowing the truth in the first instance and dealing with the perpetrators swiftly and justly.
Many Catholics rightly feel shaken for a number of reasons in times such as these. We had been warned by our Lord about wolves in sheep’s clothing, but the threat of wolves in shepherds’ clothing has caught us off guard and been far more damaging. Some question their faith on account of it all. However, we urge Catholic students here at Boston College, as well as Catholics beyond this campus, to remember that this has been a failure of men. Our faith is not in these men but in the one Man, the true Man, the new Man, the God-Man—Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, the Son of God, the Savior.
We call upon Jesus in prayer to embrace all victims of sexual violence, especially those who have suffered this most grievous evil at the hands of those who had been entrusted with the sacred mission of caring for the People of God and leading us to the Kingdom. Time cannot be reversed so as to undo these wrongs, but eternity lies ahead of us and, with it, the promise of that place where every tear will be wiped away. Until that day comes for us all, may our Mother, the Church indefectible, be continually purified. Kyrie, eleison.