Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
April 19, 2010
Focus on abuse should not imprison Church in past – Rosica
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
OTTAWA - As new revelations about old cases of priestly sexual abuse dominate the news, Basilian Father Tom Rosica urges Catholics not to forget the Church's Gospel message.
"We must address these issues but we cannot and must not become imprisoned in the past," the CEO of the Salt and Light Media Foundation said in an email interview. "We cannot allow the freshness, newness and reconciliation of the Gospel message to be anesthetized."
"We must recognize the wounds and be about the work of healing and reconciling," Rosica said. "Recognizing our woundedness will become our great strength if we witness authentically and transparently to Jesus who heals and raises the dead to life."
In recent days a new lawsuit against the St. John's Archdiocese and Bishop Raymond Lahey alleges he sexually abused a boy living at the Mount Cashel Orphanage. Lahey already faces child pornography charges.
In a lawsuit involving victims of Bernard Prince, a defrocked priest who served as a Vatican official, a letter has surfaced that shows the bishop of his diocese in 1993 worried a credible abuse complaint might become public and hurt the Church.
"What has come to light over the past weeks are a number of cases from the past that have not been dealt with in the same ways that we deal with the cases today," said Rosica, also a consulter to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
He admitted the Church had responded poorly or inadequately in the past, putting more emphasis on "saving face for the institution than on restoring dignity to the victim."
But Rosica said it is wrong to apply what we know now to the past because "we were not fully aware of the gravity of the issues in the past."
"Every abuse case involving a minor, no matter when it took place, is a crime and we must respond to those who have been victimized and hurt by any person acting in the name of the Church," Rosica said. "The Church stands by the victims and wishes to be an instrument of reconciliation and healing."
The Church, he said, has made "heroic efforts" in its response to abuse cases.
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