What a novel idea

Date Published: 04/24/2008

As we went to press this week, we learned that a fifth person has alleged he was molested by then Rev. Nicholas Katinas as a boy. Court documents allege that the abuse took place when “John Doe V” served as an altar boy at Holy Trinity Church in Dallas, where the now defrocked former Greek Orthodox priest was pastor for almost 30 years.

The number of alleged victims just keeps growing. By inference, the amount of money the Church will need to settle these cases, either in or out of court, will also increase.

The news broke while Pope Benedict XVI was making his first official visit stateside. While he was here, the Pope dealt with issues like animal rights, abortion, “rediscovering the authentic image of creation,” and whether the Roman Catholic Church was out of step with modern realities in America.

Another central issue Benedict dealt with was pederasty in the Catholic Church. Over the last few decades, the public has learned that the number of cases involving clergy sexual misconduct with minors has numbered in the thousands, which has pushed several of the Catholic Church’s very large archdioceses to bankruptcy after expending hundreds of millions for settlements.

A great deal of publicity was generated in Washington when the Pope met and prayed with six victims of child sex abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy. Technically, not much was accomplished by that meeting, and yet, it meant everything.

The Pope, the supreme authority of the world’s largest and most powerful Christian Church, sat down with the victims and prayed with them. He spent time with them. He listened to them. He showed them that he cares. He expressed deep sorrow and regret about what those people endured, and sympathized with how their suffering has adversely impacted their lives.

It helped make those particular victims feel better about themselves. It probably also went a long way in helping thousands of their fellow victims feel better.

The Pope’s open willingness to meet with the least of these, Christ’s brethren, helped the victims come to terms with their plight. It helped restore their faith. And it helped them regain proper perspective about their Church, which is struggling to come to terms with this terrible blight on humanity.

If the head of the Church is willing to meet with victims directly, it fully demonstrates the Church’s willingness to properly deal with the problem, and will eventually mitigate the righteous indignation and anger of the victims. In other words, the Pope’s actions will eventually lead to healing the brokenness.

Actually meeting directly with the victims, instead of siding with the perpetrators. What a novel idea.