Analysis: After McCarrick Report, Embracing the Cross
DENVER, Colo. — Ordinarily, a news analysis attempts to bring some context or expertise to a situation, in order to assess why something has happened, what might happen next, and whether any of it will prove to be important.
A news analysis often speculates about what newsmakers will do: At CNA, analysis considers often what the pope might do, or USCCB leaders, or bishops of prominent dioceses.
But this analysis will speculate about what ordinary Catholics, people who practice the faith and love the Lord and try to follow Jesus, will do after the publication of the Vatican’s McCarrick Report.
To do that, some context in this analysis will be personal. There is a reason I offer this personal narrative. Please bear with me.
I began working for the Catholic Church in 2005, while I was in canon law school. After finishing my canon law degree, in 2007 I began working regularly on cases involving clergy misconduct.
I have sat with priests guilty of sexual assault and coercion, of grooming young men, of acting with serial disregard for the promises of their priesthood and the spiritual health of their victims. I have also sat with priests falsely accused of those things. I have seen problems ignored, and I have seen problems treated with the attention they deserve.
I have seen priests get justice, and I have sometimes seen them face terrible injustice. I have seen victims mistreated, and victims treated with compassion and respect. I have seen cases in which every rule and protocol is followed, and cases in which most of them are ignored.
Before the initial McCarrick allegations were made public in June 2018, I had already seen some things. As friends dealt with grief and shock, I told some cynically “Now you know why I’m ticked off all the time.”
I had not known about McCarrick, but I knew about clerical abuse, and about the sins of omission and commission that allow it to happen.
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