Spoke to one of my sisters yesterday, one whose work is deeply embedded within the Catholic hierarchy in Seattle, and yet she has known, full well, for many years, the scope of the ugliness that infects the church.
She reminded me to remember all the priests and monks who are not involved with pedophilia, who have sacrificed their sexuality in service to what they see as their calling; in other words, let us remember all the truly ethical people in this “priestly” capacity who are now painted with the same broad brush.
How horrible is this for them, this “witch hunt”? For that is what it is. She didn’t say that. I just did.
This reminds me of the fact that in any institution or bureaucracy, there are very good people just trying their best to do their job. When corruption is sanctioned and operating at the very top of any hierarchy, though it does tend to “trickle down,” it’s often also at least somewhat confined to that topmost layer, given that layers below are highly compartmentalized.
Above all, let’s remember not to paint all people, no matter what their role, with the same broad brush.
Let us remember to walk in the Other’s shoes. To have compassion. And to ask, of ourselves, whenever we are tempted to judge another, “Have I never been guilty of the same?”
For example, my sister and I were talking about how, when we were growing up, there would be gossip about some priest or other who had been discovered to be somehow tainted, and thus was moved to another parish. Though none of us would ever dare name the problem, it was the subtext even then: pedophilia (and cover-ups of same) has long been the scourge of the Catholic church.
We do not realize how, at any age, and especially when we are very young, the unconscious atmosphere we are ensconced within allows certain possibilities to arise, and not others; not to mention certain truths to be told, and not others. Each of us must wake ourselves up to this fact, of how the atmospherics of a situation tend to dictate the permissable possibilities; each of us must therefore take charge of our own lives, and of speaking our own truth, no matter how much our reputation among our peer group (and its atmosphere) might suffer.
And let us remember also, that the rank and file of most organizations are not corrupt, or at least not the way their so-called leaders tend to be. See, for example, today’s whistleblower post, by rank-and-file ex-intelligence officers.