OK, OK, I’m back from my little vacation time full of family. I gotta thank those who sent me nice little notes wishing me Merry Christmas, wondering if I was OK, or downright chewing me out for disappearing for a few weeks. I appreciate them all, but I simply have to take a little break this time of year. It’s the only way to keep the muck from dragging me down. It’s also an injection of energy, because, make no mistake, I’m doing this for my kids, future grand-kids, and the rest of my future lineage first and foremost.
So I’ve spent the last few days scanning the blogosphere to get a pulse. After spinning the wheel of immorality and dissent, I’ve landed on this. https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2019/01/08/opus-dei-paid-settle-sexual-misconduct-claim-against-prominent-catholic-priest/ I don’t have a critique of this article, per se, seemed pretty straightforward, but I do have some comments on the response to the situation.
First of all, a disclaimer: I am not a member of Opus Dei. I don’t have a problem with them and I’ve known several of their priests, members, and cooperators. Just not my thing, even though some of them are peachy. I’m not sure why the fangs come out whenever they are mentioned, but I just thought I’d cut down on the “you’ve been brainwashed” flogging I’ll probably get. Honestly, I’ve yet to experience the perfect order. I will say this, though, they ain’t Jesuits or anything close to them.
The main reason I’m writing about this is because of responses like our good ol’ friend James Martin, LGBTSJ. I mean, the guy seems positively giddy. Can you just imagine him pumping his fist and saying, “They caught a conservative, heterosexual abuser! Woot!”?
Really, Fr. Martin? Is it that tragic to you? Methinks you are pretty darn pleased. What IS tragic is your “I got one!” attitude. First, while abuse is very systemic in the Jesuit order, it is not in the Opus Dei order. And, you’re still wrong. It is still very much a homosexual problem. 80% so. Msgr. Pope already schooled you on your cruddy logic in this area. An outlier does not an argument make.
I don’t think anyone has ever said there hasn’t been abuse in many different orders and dioceses or that it’s all homosexual priests. This is a constant red-herring Fr. Martin uses. His usual tactic is to take an argument not made and debate it. What has been said is that it’s been an overwhelming problem of homosexuality. I think we’re up to 80% of the cases that we know of. Does that mean that there are some priests who don’t suffer from other deep-seated disorders? Of course not! This is an argument which has never been made. So, please. Do not let Fr. Martin’s ridiculous apologetics for the LGBTSJ crowd fool you. When homosexual priests who are supposedly in the minority are the majority of the problem, they are the majority of the problem.
And let’s talk about why abuse is not a systemic problem with Opus Dei priests as it is with other orders, like, say, the Jesuits. One abuser out of 2,000+ is one too many, but it is far better than most orders/dioceses. First of all, they vet their seminarians as the Vatican directives mandate. So what happened with Fr. McCloskey? Could have been something for which he always had a weakness. Who knows? The fact that he is suffering from what’s been deemed advanced stage Alzheimer’s might be an issue, though.
If you’ve dealt with someone with that dementia, you learn a few things. Alzheimer’s is a catch-all for dementia. Sometimes it is actually Alzheimer’s, but many times it’s another type of dementia, and they cannot tell unless they autopsy the brain after death. I had a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but it was more than likely some other form of dementia because he lived WAY longer after the diagnosis than the typical patient and, in hindsight, the symptoms were present long before. People suffering from dementia lose a lot of their morality, personality, modesty, and sensibility, and they also do things they wouldn’t have thought of doing when they had all of their mental faculties. It also sneaks up on those who know them. Here’s hoping that was it. It’s really here nor there, but it’s an interesting turn of events and probably had zero bearing on how Opus Dei responded.
Next, Opus Dei only allows spiritual direction of women and minors in the confessional. In other words, they try to avoid causing scandal. Obviously, Fr. McCloskey didn’t follow that procedure and that was a problem, but I suspect that is one factor of why abuse is not a systemic problem with Opus Dei.
Lastly, Opus Dei acted swiftly. While they didn’t completely take Fr. McCloskey out of work, they did curtail it right away. We’ve heard of the main abuse victim, a second who was uncomfortable with his hugs, and third, thus far, unsubstantiated or detailed claim. Thankfully, whatever eye they kept on him before removing him completely from ministry seemed to protect women from further abuse. Compare this with the many, many other instances of abuse. Quite frankly, Opus Dei got it righter than anyone else. While they didn’t broadcast the news, they did help the woman, advised her to get help (legal and mental), and settled with her, which is why she’s apparently still Catholic and doesn’t seem to harbor ill-will, unlike the victims of the Jesuits and their ilk. In fact, in this CNA article she is quoted as saying that she is “very happy with how it’s being handled right now. They listened.” How many other victims have said the same about their response?!?!
Uh, yeah. They’ve actually shown remorse for the whole situation unlike many orders and dioceses. She wanted them to go public and they did after already helping her. Maybe you should use them as a model, Fr. Martin, instead of trying to use them to further your cause.
One last attempt to keep it in the spotlight. Again, Opus Dei’s formation and response should have been the model. To simply say “See! It’s not a homosexual problem at all! Heterosexual conservatives do it too!And it’s systematic across the entire priesthood!” is not even in the realm of reality. You should be looking at what they did right and why their percentages are so low compared with, oh, your order. It starts with the screening process and ends with a humble response instead of a massive cover-up of the problem. We’ve never said it was going to stem every possible evil scenario. Satan still finds a way, but it would certainly be a huge stumbling block for him. It starts with avoiding things that might cause scandal in the first place instead of running towards near occasions of sin like they are a playground to be enjoyed as long as one doesn’t pass the fictitious line they probably crossed long before they got there. This is the common sense the Jesuits lost long, long ago.
Say what you want about Opus Dei, but my guess is that other victims of abuse wish that the hierarchy of their abusers treated them with as much respect as the Opus Dei hierarchy treated these women. So many victims were treated horribly, disbelieved and lost their faith, but this approach would have helped them through the trauma. Thankfully, this woman was accompanied correctly. Their mission is to save souls, not to save their behinds.
Another thing, I know some are for defrocking abusers. Personally, I’m for holding them to a life of penance, reparation, and, hopefully, redemption. Defrocking is the easy way out. Quite frankly, jail is probably an easy way out, too. I don’t want them whiling away their days watching soap operas in the rec room. I want them to live an austere life of silent contemplation. Far more grueling.
Lastly, Fr. Martin, try as you may, you can’t make the reality go away that 80% of the abusers were homosexual. And before you whine for the umpteenth billion time that not all homosexual priests abuse, duh. Truth bomb – an overwhelming amount of them do. Time and again, popes have spelled out why homosexuality doesn’t work in the priesthood and shouldn’t be allowed, but you somehow think you know better. Deal with reality as it is, not how you wish it to be. And for heaven’s sake, stop cheering every time a female is victimized. It’s disgusting.