The youth of the world have gathered in Australia. An Aussie friend of mine said that he and his daughter and some other friends spent some time there and the atmosphere was thick with the Spirit. I was happy to hear that from him. I have to say that I am glad that I was not and am not there.
It's hard to think of the Pope getting there and replaying the same record that he played so often and so poignantly here in North America. How many times and in how many countries does he have to unwrap the child abuse thing? Now, especially at a rally for the youth of the world? Doesn't he have more inspiring things to bring out of his bag? Why does he even have the conviction that the Pope has to repeat himself in every country that he visits? The message that he laid down here was heard by one and all. The Pope after all is the universal unifying personage in the world. This is his authority. It is spiritual, moral, emotional, economical and political. What he said here has had its impact. What he should have done in Australia is to bring the message from his North American visit forward to a newer, higher and more positively inspiring level. After all, what he says in the first world resonates throughout the planet. What he says outside of Europe is all the more meaningful and rings all the more loudly. Why repeat it?
Finally, why all the hand wringing about the guilty priests? What about some hand wringing for the thousands of innocent priests many of whom have been falsely accused and falsely convicted and punished? They are victims too. They suffer from the denial of due process and the right of defense [Canon 221]; they and their attorneys are denied access to their files so that they can know the allegations against them. These are violations of basic human rights practiced at the highest levels of Church governance. Many of them are in jail and never get a visit from those who are bound to care for them. Don't they deserve to hear their plaint ring out in one of these Papal orations? Why aren't they ever mentioned? Is it because they are a part of the lingering scandal which still worms its way through the fiber of the Church?
Speaking about the lingering scandal, you know, the acrid, lung searing blue atmosphere that hovers over the zealous apostles who have to wonder what nasty looks they are going to accounter on the street and from the pews on any given day? The true celibates who believe in the sacrifice of their procreative power and who have spent years hugging the Bride of Christ for the good of the world are victims too. I implore Pope Benedict XVI to start taking his perorations to a higher level. The good priests of this world have to know that the Bishop of bishops loves them and is convinced that they are the keys to the salvation of the Church. The Sacerdotal Community needs some balm for the burning wound that is so slow to heal. It will be better for the Pope to stop beating the Church's breast and to start singing the praises of the remnant.
Finally, the laity, the Holy Priesthood, as Peter puts it, is fed up with all this breast beating from the Pope. If it makes him feel good, it leaves a lot of us uneasy with a rucksack full of unanswered questions. We can devise our own answers if we don't have to listen to the same doleful refrain over and over again. We are becoming more and more convinced that the focus on this issue is now a convenient distraction to ignore the global problem by the Church and governments. We know who the good priests are and we know what they do. We don't need the hierarchy above them to tell us what we already know about the bad ones. The good priests who are left, and the good ones who were bulldozed out are victims of some bishops who treated the confrères of this remnant with such cold hearted, self-serving disdain. These priests who are left have to continue serving the flock under bosses who have bankrupted not only the coffers, but the hearts and minds of some of their most faithful servants.
Holy Father, the next time you address your people on this subject, please make sure that you mention that we all have the equal right to a high quality of life in safety, security and love.