Monday, April 25, 2016

"Very often, I hear folks speak of mercy as if it were a cancellation of justice..."

As noted here, the Brothers of Christian Instruction have been credibly accused of numerous cases of child sexual abuse across many nations.  We read that:

"In Ireland in March 1998, the Congregation of the Christian Brothers published full-page advertisements in newspapers apologizing to former pupils who had been ill-treated whilst in their care. The unprecedented advertising campaign expressed 'deep regret' on behalf of the Christian Brothers and listed telephone lines which former pupils could ring if they needed help...In 2003, the order took legal action against the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, to prevent the Commission from naming deceased brothers and brothers who were too old to competently defend themselves.

The High Court rejected the challenge, but did stipulate that the Commission must take into account the corroboration of accusations and the testing of witness evidence, and to allow the representatives of deceased brothers to cross-examine witnesses.

However, Justice Seán Ryan later overruled this when he took over the commission, and declared that individual perpetrators of abuse would not be named unless they had already been convicted.
The Commission found that thousands of Irish children at Christian Brothers institutions were abused and that more allegations were made against the Irish Christian Brothers than against all other male religious orders combined.

In the Irish Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse's five-volume report of its investigation of systemic abuse of children in Ireland, the Congregation of Christian Brothers, which was the largest provider of residential care for boys in the country, received more allegations of abuse than all of the other male religious orders combined.

They have accepted the allegations were correct, saying ""The Christian Brothers accept, with shame, the findings of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse ... The congregation is deeply sorry for the hurt we have caused - not just for the mistakes of the past, but for the inadequacy of our responses over recent years."

On the 5 November 2009 the organization announced they would be paying €34 million in reparations, following the publication of the Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse the previous May. Up to €30m is to be given to a Government trust, in addition to €4m for counselling services. The donations reflect the "Christian Brothers' acceptance, shame and sorrow at the findings of the Ryan Report.

In late November 2009 the organization announced they would supply a €161 million (£145 million sterling) package as part of reparations for child abuse in Ireland. This includes a donation of €30 million to a government trust and €4 million donated to provide counselling services. Playing fields owned by the organisation and valued at €127 million would be transferred to joint ownership of the government and the trust that runs former Christian Brothers schools."

Not exactly a stellar record of showing "mercy" to one's neighbor.

Which is why I am wary of a book written by Father Patrick Martin entitled A Log in a Stream which my parish is currently distributing.  Father Martin was a member of the Brothers of Christian Instruction.  There have never been any accusations of any kind against Fr. Martin.  But still his association with the Brothers and his affinity for Francis and his conception of "mercy" concern me.  See here also.

Father Robert McTeigue, SJ has written, "Very often, I hear folks speak of mercy as if it were a cancellation of justice. On this view, “justice” means, “you have to pay off your debt—or else.” “Mercy”, then, says, “About that debt—never mind!” And who wouldn’t breathe a sigh of relief when told that one’s debt has been dismissed, made irrelevant? That’s an appealing, even tempting image of justice and mercy, especially if you’ve ever been deeply in debt. Unfortunately, such a view tragically distorts justice and mercy. If left uncorrected, such a view runs the risk of making us unable to see or feel what is, to borrow a phrase from C.S. Lewis, “the weight of glory.” In other words, the roots of human dignity and the very character of God may be obscured by such a facile, beguiling, and impoverished view of mercy and justice."

This flawed notion of "mercy" is popular at my parish.  And this doesn't surprise me.  For there is precious little authentic mercy in practice there.  Only a lukewarm counterfeit which offers chaff instead of wheat and leaves one unsatisfied.

The "pastor," influenced by Francis, preaches on the need for showing others mercy even as he treats me like a leper and leaves me feeling unwelcome.  Isn't this the same pseudo-mercy shown by Francis?  See here.  A "mercy" which is most selective and has little or no room for devout, orthodox Catholics.


Cyn M. said...

Lack of solid doctrine and *true* mercy sends many souls to hell. All the clergy, form the top down, will be called to account for their faithfulness to true doctrine, or lack thereof. Praying for our clergy,Holy Mother Church, and for the lay faithful.

Ryan T. said...

That's true Cyn M. A true mercy reminds people to "go and sin no more" while helping them to avoid the extremes of despair and presumption.

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