Kathryn Jean Lopez’s article on the trials of the Catholic Church was very articulate in explaining the human condition within the church.
She chronicles the journey of Dawn Eden Goldstein, a Reform Jewish household member who moved to agnosticism, then nondenominational Christianity, before finding her home as a converted Catholic. In lieu of the clergy sex scandals, she contemplated whether to stay within the Catholic Church. When Catholics around her were not trying to look away or explain away what was being revealed, she discovered they were angry about such despicable and criminal acts being perpetrated by their own priests, in their own church. These parishioners did not want the abuse covered up. They wanted it brought to light so that abusing members of the clergy could be brought to justice and the church could be purified. When she saw ordinary Catholics were furious about clergy abuse, she concurred in the Catholic Church’s claim to be the true faith. With these experiences intertwined with her personal journey, Goldstein still found her faith anchored in the Catholic Church.
Instead of leaving the Catholic Church, she chose to stay and be a part of the solution. In her words, “Catholics need to show the world that they are furious about every form of child abuse, most especially that which is committed by representatives of the Church. That’s the kind of witness we need to give — a righteous anger that is channeled into purification and reform.”
Goldstein’s strength and wisdom on this issue is to the point. Evil exists in all corners of the world. That it took root in trusted clergy we look to find peace and solitude is a horror. However, only one perfect man has ever walked this earth, and He is the founder of the Catholic Church. Everyone else struggles with the trials, tribulations and temptations of mankind — even in the Catholic Church.
Running away solves nothing. Shedding light and holding the abusers accountable is the only answer to enable the Catholic church in moving forward, with determined conviction, to never cloak such behavior again. The vast majority of the clergy are honorable individuals dedicated to representing Christ on earth. They are also victims in this tragedy, as well. They deserve to have this stain removed from their vocation.
Members of the Catholic Church need to reflect on Goldstein’s choice. We are all part of the healing process to overcome and cast out this evil forever, because the overall great goodness the Catholic Church has represented, provided and performed for eons deserves to still be recognized and not thrown away.