Sunday, April 7, 2013
One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over. Matt. 26:14
I'm so used to the Readings of Holy Week, but this year the theme of betrayal leapt out at me. Jesus was betrayed by Judas, by Peter and the other Apostles who took off, who left Him to face His accusers alone. Only John and the ever faithful women stood by Him.
Jesus was able to forgive. Perhaps even Judas was forgiven. Our God is a God of mercy.
Most of us have experienced betrayal of some sort. In my very blessed life I have not experienced too much of it.
But I know that I have been betrayed by the action or inaction those within the Church ; Bishops, Priests, Cardinals who took the easy road in response to knowledge of the abuse of children. We the people of the Church have been betrayed.
I was not abused. But sadly members of my family were. My innocent, trusting attitude towards the hierarchy was destroyed.
I've worked with survivors of incest and I know well how very difficult the road to healing can be. It's amazing that some can even forgive. Recovering trust is so very difficult. The effects of being abused are widespread. Relationships are particularly impacted by the struggle to trust.
I believe the effects of the abuse scandal on the Church is like that. The betrayal of trust is hard to overcome. Some people have left the Church as they cannot reconcile the behavior of some priests and bishops with the practice of faith. One man I know cannot get over the fact that the same man who consecrated the host would molest and rape a child. For me the choice of bishops to act with expedience over the choice to protect children is horrifying.
Certain experiences, that may seem unrelated can bring back the feelings of hurt, anger and humiliation.
I wonder about those who have left the Church, who no longer show up for Mass nor participate in their parishes. Has anyone bothered to notice that they are gone? I know people (family members) who were in Church every Sunday, who financially supported the Parish and participated as teachers of Religious Education. When people like this leave and there's no response and seemingly no care to even ask why, then there is something wrong with that Parish and others like it. This is a big flaw with the Church; that people can leave and no one cares enough to go after them.
There has got to be a better way to be Church.
I pray that we of the Church can heal, can reconcile and reach out to those who are betrayed. I pray that somehow our new Pope Francis can lead us & renew our Church.