Thursday, January 31, 2019

Two Quotes

Justice without mercy is cruelty, but mercy without justice is the mother of dissolution.

St. Thomas Aquinas
The clerical sex abuse scandal was made possible because of a prevailing mentality, especially in the 1970s and 80s, that notions of crime and justice had no place in the post-Vatican II Church.* The crimes of clerical abuse were labelled as “struggles with chastity” and “mental issues” and there was an entire cottage industry of therapy centres and clinics which would helpfully label the abusers as victims of their own traumas, often blaming it on the wicked institution of clerical celibacy, and then “rehabilitate” abusive priests and send them back, certified as ready for ministry. This approach, which was consciously identified as a “merciful” way of handling matters, caused a chilling illustration of what a mockery of itself mercy can become when it is uncoupled from justice.

ED: The author deludes himself in thinking that this wasn't a problem prior to Vatican Two. 


MK said...

We are unlikely to see Pope Francis ever proclaim a Year of Justice

This line really leaves me disturbed. And this has nada to do with Francis; can any Christian pope have a "Year of Justice"? Could that ever be a thing? Because don't all humans live in fear of justice and plead for mercy? That is, except those humans who are getting screwed over, like abused children or aborted babies...and those people never have any authority.

I'll be meditating on this for days.

The Social Pathologist said...

can any Christian pope have a "Year of Justice"?

Bingo! Now you're getting it.

A century of focusing just on the Mercy of God, without any reference to His justice, has habituated us to stop thinking about this element of His nature. The religion has become distorted and I think it is this element which largely explains the failure of the institution to deal with any crime within its ranks, not just sexual abuse. It's a systemic problem based on "modern" orthodox trends in theology.

The other big issue at play here is the downplaying of the communitarian aspects of theology. It's all about MY personal relationship with God, not My personal relationship with God in the context of living in a Christian community with obligations to others.