Worth Reading #7: Maria Farrell on the Church Abuse Scandal (Best Non-Economics Thing of March 15, 2010)
From <>: Maria Farrell:
I really don't know what to say — Crooked Timber: Sad and upsetting times in Ireland. Cardinal Brady... was instrumentally involved in the closed investigation of the monstrous Fr. Smith, and himself swore to secrecy the children raped by Smith. The incident simply resulted in Smith getting some form of censure from the Church and going on to rape and abuse many, many more children. Whose parents were in turn stonewalled by the Church. How does anyone get over this? Should they?... It's odd to me that people are searching so intently for Ratzinger's smoking gun, when as head of the Congregation for the Indoctrination of the Faith, he wrote to bishops telling them that breaking the seal of secrecy on church investigations of sex abuse was punishable by excommunication. That's the smoking gun that destroyed not just the childhoods and perhaps lives of one or two children in Ratzinge's direct responsibility, but thousands of children around the world who deserved better from the one, true Church. The Irish adult voices of raped children are joined by American ones; people now grown up who were raped and abused by Fr. Smith when he was sent away from these shores and off to where he wasn't known and could start again. A Connecticut woman poignantly asks why she was repeatedly raped by a priest who had been sent to America instead of to the police. An Irish woman asks why no one went to the police. If they had, she might have been saved. Many might have been saved.
Cardinal Brady's voice on the radio saying it was different times then, and he chose differently. And that others are guilty of doing nothing also; teachers, doctors, the media.... So strange to hear the institution that stands for absolute moral values and the timeless nature of sin asking to not be judged by the mores of another time.... After the victims of abuse--and far, far behind them--those most hurt are the parish priests who’ve given over their lives to something bigger and supposed to be better than themselves. They are betrayed by their leaders and distrusted by the faithful....
The quiet dignity and sheer persistence of victims of the abuse talking on the radio every day or every second day. Joe Duffy trying to whip up his own easily stirred moral outrage, and being quietly side stepped by the people who've truly been hurt. Some of them think bishops' resignations can help. Others have given up hope on the lot or, with unbelievable generosity, say getting a few scalps now won't help them and will only harm the innocent believers.
Is there such a thing as an innocent believer?