Reflecting on Joshua 24: 1-2a, 15-17, 18b
Choose today whom you will serve, Joshua said to that diverse crowd gathered inside the border of the Promised Land. Apparently that warning, sounding all the way from the 13th century BC, was ignored by ex-Cardinal Ted McCarrick, who certainly had multiple opportunities to reflect on that text, coming as it does every three years on the 21st Sunday.
It was most certainly cynically ignored by the hundreds of priests whom we now know assaulted over 1,000 minors in the period between 1940 and 2003 in six dioceses in Pennsylvania.
But it also eluded the consciences of every cleric who covered up those abuses so malevolently that the Grand Jury called their response “a playbook for concealing the truth.”
I ask myself how I, a laywoman and scripture teacher, have contributed to the culture of cover-up in this Church that I love. Would I have defended a priest, even at the expense of a child, just to keep a job? I have never even remotely been in that position.
Still, I feel the need to do penance. This is my Church. Many of the atrocities of clergy abuse occurred in my lifetime—but, thankfully, almost none since the new mandatory reporting laws came into effect in 2003. At least at this writing, the worst may be behind us.
Every August I receive the annual subscription fees from the parishes that so kindly subscribe to this column. This year I will send the full amount to a group that works with survivors of clergy abuse. With this gesture I’ll join the universal Church in sacrifice and penance for the evils done by those pretending to be servants of Christ.
Even though you aren’t personally responsible, will you join in a year of prayer for the victims?
Kathy McGovern ©2018