Abalo na Igreja - III

Estes dois artigos do "The Tablet", de 3 de Abril, são notáveis por várias razões:
O primeiro é de um padre de 47 anos e que foi vitima de pedofilia da parte de um padre. Diz claramente que se não tivesse fé não tinha aguentado o sofrimento.
O outro é de um canonista que há 25 anos trata de casos de crianças vitimas de abusos sexuais.
Ambos apresentam de modo impressionante o sofrimento e as marcas profundissimas dos abusos sofridos da parte de padres.
Outra razão é que o que apresentam não é "contra" ou "a favor" do Papa e da Igreja Católica: são a favor de uma atitude justa para com os principais intervenientes: as vitimas. Vê-se também que conhecem bem a realidade e os processos.
Votos a todos de uma Páscoa vivida por dentro do Mistério da nossa Fé: dar-se totalmente à maneira de Jesus ("não há maior amor do que dar a vida pelos outros") e assim mergulhar na libertação "radical" (pela raiz) da Morte, do Desamor e do Mal.
frei Eugénio

‘They can talk to me because I’ve been in their shoes’
Paddy McCafferty is a priest who was himself a victim of clerical abuse. He is offering to act as a bridge between those like himself who have suffered, and the Church

I began to speak out publicly in 1996 because I felt the bishops weren’t responding to victims with compassion and a true desire to be just. It didn’t make me any friends, and I experienced real hostility, but that wasn’t my main concern. I wanted to show solidarity as a priest to the victims of these crimes. It was a difficult and painful journey and it brought me to the brink because I had my own wounds.
The forced resignation of the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston, Bernard Law, in December 2002, was a catalyst. At the time I called publicly for the resignation of Cardinal Desmond Connell, then Archbishop of Dublin, whose retirement as archbishop Pope John Paul II accepted in April 2004.
The Murphy report on abuse in Dublin Diocese subsequently found that Cardinal Connell had handled the abuse scandals “badly” as he was “slow to recognise the seriousness of the situation”. Answers he gave regarding the extent of his knowledge of the abusive activities of priests under his control were regarded as inadequate.
In 2003, before the cardinal’s resignation, I had a nervous breakdown, and as a result I had to seek help. I’d been putting a sticking plaster on deep wounds that needed healing. I had suffered abuse as a child and then as a seminarian. The Diocese of Down and Connor funded counselling in the United States because one of my abusers was a priest.
Without faith I would not be alive. Thank God, I’d experienced plenty of good in the Church and that’s what helped me separate the abuse by the priest from my faith in God. I knew that the abuse had nothing to do with God. But it did affect my spiritual life.
It caused me to go into terrible darkness, and prayer didn’t bring me the comfort it
had always brought me. I still suffer a lot with depression, but I just try to keep going.
I am now 47 and work as a parish chaplain while studying for a doctorate at the Milltown Institute. My thesis is on the theology of the Cross as a comfort to survivors of abuse. I do some unofficial pastoral work with victims of abuse. Some of them have contacted me, having heard me speak publicly about my experiences; others have heard of me through the rape crisis centre.
Most of the victims who have contacted me are not victims of clerical abuse. But there are some who are, and they feel they can talk to me because I’ve been in their shoes.
A lot more of the story needs to be told and the Church needs to continue to listen.
It needs to study and engage with the spiritual effects and spiritual harm caused by clerical abuse.
Abuse by clergy is different from other abuse, because if you were abused in your family, you can perhaps find comfort and healing in faith and the Church. Victims of clerical abuse often feel that that comfort is shut down to them.
There needs to be complete transparency about what occurred and an end to this slow release of scandal. Let it all come out into the open through a truth session of some form for every bishop in the country.
There should be no hiding place for any cardinal, bishop or anybody who has endangered children. But this slow release of scandal and the public frenzy that follows re-traumatises victims. It brings them back into their anguish and plunges them into hell. It is like puncturing the wound again. It is draining and endangers victims’ mental well-being. It puts them at risk of despair.
Some can take so much but some can’t. It is putting straws on camels’ backs, and each revelation could be the one straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Fr. Paddy McCafferty is a parish chaplain in Rathmines, Dublin. He spoke to Sarah.
Mac Donald, a freelance journalist.

‘Church officials often rebuffed the victims’
A canon lawyer involved with child-abuse cases for 25 years, Thomas Patrick Doyle
believes the Church must move beyond the facts and consider why such abuse happens

There is no doubt Pope Benedict truly believed that his pastoral letter to the Irish people would have a healing effect. Yet widespread reactions confirm that it not only failed in this respect, but in fact was a cause of more pain and certainly more anger.
The victims of sexual abuse, the most important of those to whom the letter was addressed, saw only more words when what they desperately hoped for was action. The Pope, his curial officials and far too many bishops persist in believing that their words are equivalent to action and will change reality. From that standpoint alone, the letter is a failure.
On the positive side, Pope Benedict acknowledged the toxic role of clericalism as a cause of the scandal. Yet he neutralized this realistic assessment by shifting blame to the secular culture and what he believes to be a misinterpretation of the Second Vatican Council. A more serious flaw was placing the “immense harm to victims” on the same level as the damage done to the institutional Church and to the image of the priesthood. There is no comparison.
The violation of victims by trusted clerics and the rejection by bishops is far worse than harm. It is the murder of their souls.
It is clear that the Pope believes that the path to healing is through reconciliation with the institutional Church. But for many victims, that would symbolise a return to their abuse.
The injection of several references to the reputation and renewal of the Church reveals that the core issue for the Vatican, even if not consciously acknowledged by the Holy Father, is not healing the victims or purging the evil, but power – the institutional Church’s power – and the assurance that more of it won’t be lost.
The tumultuous week ended with the reve lation of official documents regarding the case in the United States of a priest in Milwaukee who had molested 200 deaf boys. The papers showed that the then Archbishop of Milwaukee, Rembert Weakland, wrote to Pope Benedict in his then capacity as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, requesting that the priest be defrocked. Cardinal Ratzinger did not reply, but eight months later the priest was subject to a canonical trial, later halted after the priest wrote to the future Pope, saying he had repented.
Then there was the case in Germany when the Pope was Archbishop of Munich, where an abusive priest from another diocese was transferred to the city, and after being sent for therapy went back to work. The vicargeneral of the time in Munich said he had made the decision.
The resulting media frenzy was predictable. The Vatican and its supporters faced off with the expected denials and blame-shifting. Yet the latest revelations, even though they implicate the Pope, should not be shocking because they are part of a church-wide culture. This includes accusations that the media is engaged in a campaign to defame the Pope and bring nothing but embarrassment to the Church.
The problem with these claims is that the secular media didn’t invent the cause of embarrassment, nor did it fabricate stories to stoke public outrage. The Pope himself admitted that when victims found the courage to speak, “no one would listen”. Not only would no one listen, but church officials often rebuffed the victims, telling them to avoid the media and to keep it a secret. In so doing, they sentenced the victims to return to their prisons of shame, fear and guilt.
It took the media to rip away the Church’s protective blanket of denial and give voice to the victims. Had they not spearheaded this exposure, carried to even deeper levels by the civil court actions, there is little doubt that the abuse would have continued.
The press in several countries continues to report what Church defenders dismiss as “old cases”. No matter how “old” the case is, it is not a dossier of paper. It is a human being who was once an innocent, devout and trusting Catholic child who now, as an adult, still lives with the intense pain and spiritual isolation that the years cannot heal.
The victims were pushed into the shadows back then, and today, in the middle of the debate, one wonders what has changed. They have suffered devastation and yet they are still relegated to the shadows by a Church obsessed with protecting its hierarchy.
What we need now is a fearless probing of the clerical caste and hierarchical governing culture of the Church to determinewhy the spiritual welfare of the Church’s most vulnerable members was sacrificed for the image and power of the institution and its office-holders. All the expressions of regret and sympathy offered by the Pope and the bishops will be meaningless unless they move past the fact that it happened to the threatening question of why it happened.

Thomas Patrick Doyle is the co-author of Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes: the Catholic Church’s 2,000-year paper trail of sexual abuse. He is a drug and alcohol counsellor on a military base in North Carolina, USA.

4 comentários:

  1. Anónimo2/4/10 18:03

    Os ingleses levam a sério estas questões das tentaçõe pedófilas.
    Nos conventos dos dominicanos no Reino Unido, se utlizarmos os elevadores deparamos com a seguinte advertência do regulamento interno:
    "é proibida a utilização deste elevador por um só adulto juntamente com uma criança , a não ser seja seu pai ou mãe."
    Esta proibição existe há mais de 10 anos, não é de hoje!
    Mais vale prevenir do que remediar !

  2. Anónimo9/4/10 21:40

    Acho que há nesta questão - e no meio dos vários interesses que se misturam que nem sempre a permitem ver com clareza - um bem: a justiça das democracias funciona mesmo. É bom ver que os eclesiásticos que não conseguiram fugir à tentação de se auto-compensarem ou autojusticarem, acabam por ser responsabilizados, enfim!

  3. Anónimo9/4/10 21:48

    Corrijo: auto-justificarem. Acrescento o seguinte. Imaginem-se na pela de um dos dignitários que afogaram casos. A tentação a que sucumbiram é óbvia: salvaguardar a Igreja de um escândalo; acreditar que com a sua benevolência os infractores iriam corrigir-se. As tentações (as boas! não as mais rudes e grosseiras) são assim: são servidas sob a forma de boas virtudes...

  4. Concordo com o Armando: as grandes tentações são grandes exactamente pelo facto de parecerem vir com boas e piedosas intenções.