The one way back
In the interest of full disclosure, I am a cradle Catholic. I’ve received six of the seven sacraments. And I am a disillusioned, throw-my-hands-in-the-air, shaking-my-head — and occasionally my fist — member of the flock.
Saturday evening, I sat in the fifth pew and listened to a sermon that the bishop of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph asked priests to give on the heels of the release of a list of priests who had substantiated allegations of abuse against them. (Sept. 7, 1A, “Diocese lists priests accused of sexual abuse of minors”) What I heard were excuses. Justifications for the unjustifiable. “Most of the priests on the list are dead.” “There have been no substantiated allegations of abuse since 1992.” “Many Catholics have turned away from the church, but when a teacher is accused, do you quit sending your kid to school?” “We’re human. We make mistakes.”
Mistakes? Abusing kids isn’t a mistake. Hiding priests who are abusers isn’t a mistake, either.
Here’s the Hail Mary the church needs: We need a sincere apology, not one laced with justifications. We need to know that you get it, that you know how those wide-eyed trusting altar boys were played.
And unless and until that happens, this church can’t heal.
Here’s to everyone on ESPN who picked Jacksonville to go to the Super Bowl. Yes, the Chiefs’ defense looked suspect, but how do you bet against coach Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes after last year? Here’s to a Chiefs Super Bowl in February.