Saturday, June 15, 2002

From my acquaintance Pavel Chichikov, who wrote this on the OpenCatholic listserv; he consistently holds wisdom. The text being contemplated is CCC # 2284-2287:

Transgressions against human dignity run the spectrum from rudeness in
conversation to physical and psychological exploitation and battery.

Violence and the assault on human dignity can take many forms, and there
is often a seamless transition from verbal violence - sometimes
associated by juvenile minds with manliness - to physical mistreatment.

I''ve seen various kinds of exploitation of persons happen in parishes in
which I've been a member. There are scandals waiting to happen, and
others which may never be disclosed, sometimes because either the
perpetrators or the victims are dead

There is much to regret about the present scandal, whether or not the
guilty are small in number. Our Lord tells us that to those who have
been given much, much is expected - and woe to those who offend the
little ones. Those who have been given and accepted much spiritual
responsibility not only betray a trust, they cover the very body of
Christ, hanging in agony on the cross, with the spittle of their inner
contempt for Him, revealed now for everyone to see

I'm not old enough in the Church to be able to judge what the effects of
various reforms have been - or whether or not they were carried out in
the spirit in which they were intended. But it would be a great mistake
for one part of the community of believers to heap all the blame on
another part, as if they themselves were innocent and had no need of
forgiveness - as if Christ need not have submitted His precious body and
blood to the final agony for *their* sake

We are one body under Christ, or we are nothing - in truth the most
pitiable of men.

I am reluctant to comment in detail without re-reading the Catechism passages, yet Pavel has it right. We cannot point fingers. We cannot be cruel to each other. If we are, we only tear ourselves. We are one body in our one Lord --- all of us. And, how dare I ridicule or severely judge anybody else? The judgement I judge is the judgement I will be judged with, and I have sinned and done spectacularly stupid things myself, for which I can only beg for mercy. How can I dare deny that same mercy to anyone else?

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