“The fact is that now it is no longer the church scrutinizing the signs of the times in the light of the Gospel. It is also the signs of the times – beginning with the voices of victims and survivors of abuse – scrutinizing the church in the light of the Gospel.”
This sentence from a recent striking NCR article – by theologian Massimo Faggioli and papal advisor on the safeguarding of children in the church Hans Zollner – has struck home with a regular contributor here, Soline Humbert of We Are Church.
“We are in the midst of both our national Irish synodal pathway and, at the level of the universal church, in the phase of reflection on the Continental document, with our feedback requested by 22nd December.
“I believe the article linked below and quoted above is timely in raising, in the context of the synodal discernment process, the issue of abuse in the church: sexual abuse of children and vulnerable persons, and more broadly spiritual abuse and abuse of power.
“Some, perhaps many, will be tempted to say: enough about all this talk of abuse, let ‘s move on!…
“But can we, should we?
“When I first read the article, this particular sentence resonated strongly with me:
”The fact is that now it is no longer the church scrutinizing the signs of the times in the light of the Gospel. It is also the signs of the times – beginning with the voices of victims and survivors of abuse – scrutinizing the church in the light of the Gospel.”
“In a week when we heard, again, on our national airways the powerful testimonies of brave survivors, we cannot but ask ourselves: What is the Spirit telling us through their voices through their tears through their cries for justice, healing?
“At the same time I have been watching in France (my country of origin) the ever-increasing number of cardinal(s), archbishops, bishops being named as perpetrators of abuse, as well as of covering up. The systemic nature of abuse in the church is being exposed at the highest levels.
“Many of us have been affected, directly or indirectly, by these abuses for several decades. We know well the deadly fruit they bear, the evil they spread.
“I agree with the authors that we cannot leave the abuse scandal out of the mainstream of synodal deliberations.
“To do this would be to avoid our responsibility to our sisters and brothers and therefore to Christ who said: ”What you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do it to Me.”
“As a church, let us be courageous and unflinching in shining the light in all the dark corners and trust that the truth, and only the whole truth, will set us free.
“Now is the time, the kairos.”