What Hath God Wrought?

There’s a prominent international company whose employees have been engaged in criminal activity for many years. Management knows it, and the only action that they’ve taken has been to try to cover it up. Every once in a while there’s evidence brought forth of the extent of the criminal activity, but invariably, the perpetrator has gotten away and management just shrugs. The CEO knows, too. But he’s silent and because he resides in a foreign land, he seems to be immune from questioning about his knowledge or involvement when he was a manager.

Is it Siemens? Bear Stearns? Lehman? ADM? No. It is, of course, the Catholic Church.

I was sitting in church today reflecting on the horror or the latest story. The abuse of deaf boys in Milwaukee at the hands of a priest who, once he was found out, requested and received permission to be transferred and subsequently buried in his sacramental garments with a clean public record, despite the fact that his management chain knew of his actions—and didn’t turn him into authorities. The actions of the priest are unconscionable and the actions of his superiors in not dealing with this as a criminal manner are equally abhorrent and criminal.

This has looked like a criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice for quite a while. If this enterprise were a corporation, surely criminal prosecutions of managers would be contemplated. The public would be screaming for someone to go to jail. It must be stopped. I should think that authorities (in the U.S.) should have probable cause to subpoena the files of every archdiocese in which a priest was transferred out to see what the church knew and what it did or didn’t do about it. Why have they not already done so? Is this excessive deference to the role of the Church? To my non-legal eyes, it sure looks that way.

Now we hear that the current Pope knew of and enabled a transfer for priest(s?) involved in similar activities in Germany, who refuses to speak to the allegations. The pooh-poohing of the notion of wrong-doing only serves to increase the cynicism and doubt and decrease the faith.

It is a tragedy of epic proportions. For the faithful whose faith in these authority figures and this institution has been repeatedly betrayed. For the vast majority of the brotherhood of priests who are innocent of any wrongdoing and who have kept their vows, who are being stained with the shrapnel of these cases. And for society who needs no additional reasons to doubt the value of the message of God.

It is not uncommon for people of faith to question God’s mercy when faced with some horrible event. What kind of a God let’s this happen? What kind of a God gives a child an untreatable disease? What kind of a God let’s people ostensibly here to serve him and help his people gain faith abuse children? It’s heartbreaking to watch people who have been faithful to God their whole lives have such questions. The people that perpetrated these crimes are impostors. They are not men of God. The people that enabled them to commit these crimes are equally culpable.

The air needs to be cleared. This cover-up has to be stopped.

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