Monday, August 29, 2011

Called As Heralds Of Truth

When I call myself a practicing Catholic, that entails many things, not just showing up for Sunday Mass. I think one of the aspects of practicing Catholicism that often gets overlooked or perhaps misconstrued is speaking out in defense of the truth. This is not always an easy thing to do, especially in today's cultural climate of "political correctness".
The saying goes: "The truth hurts." Well sometimes it does, even if we don't mean it to, but not speaking out in defense of the truth can also have far reaching and damaging implications and repercussions. Jack Nicholson in his famous line from the movie, A Few Good Men, shouts to a courtroom full of people: "You can't handle the truth!" That too is often true. However, the truth hurting, or not being able to handle it should not keep good, faithful Catholics from seeking and defending the truth. Unfortunately many do keep quiet because making waves is not a comfortable thing to do.
Well in the spirit of all this and in keeping with practicing what I blog, I am going to speak out in defense of a truth many would like to ignore or refute.
Since 2002 our Church has been rocked by the clergy sexual abuse scandal. Much effort  and many a rock has been overturned to expose priests who are or have been guilty of sexually abusing our children and these efforts are needed. However, in the course of these efforts a witch hunt has also ensued. It is no longer sufficient to bring the guilty to justice as they should be, but the pendulum has swayed completely over to the other side to where a priest is presumed guilty until proven innocent. Sometimes the proving innocent part gets thrown out altogether as in the case of Fr. Gordon MacRae. I have written of Fr. MacRae's case here before, but for the few who may not know of him, he is a priest from the Diocese of New Hampshire who is currently serving a 67 year prison sentence for abuse crimes he did not commit. Fr. Gordon was offered a plea bargain that would have had him out of prison, but he refused it because the charges against him were false. The judge at his trial cited him as having no remorse.
I do not make my statement of faith in Fr. MacRae's  innocence lightly. Truth be told, I am a bit of a cynic and skeptic by nature, but the evidence for Father Gordon's innocence is much stronger than the evidence against him which looks more like a block of Swiss Cheese than it does a solid body of evidence. But as I have encouraged you before, do not take my word for it; go read it for yourself. A good place to start is at Father Gordon's blog, These Stone Walls.
While Fr. MacRae's case is one that is coming more into the spotlight. praise God, it is not the only one like it. As I said before, a witch hunt has ensued, and it has been started in large part, by the mainstream media, and organizations like SNAP(The  Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests). Their agenda is not is not to help those who truly are victims of abuse by priests. In the case of the media it is sensationalism to sell more papers, or gain more viewers; it is also another chance for them to attack the Catholic Church. The agenda of SNAP is not sincere compassion for victims, but emotional manipulation and they too have a transparent hatred for the Catholic Church.
Every citizen of this country is entitled to due process which when it is carried out properly, ensures that a person is innocent until proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. In the case of Fr. Gordon MacRae and many other priests, due process has been heinously abused, if not ignored altogether, and that my friends is as serious an injustice as the real abuse of our children.
The one responsible for orchestrating this injustice is none other than Satan himself; no one hates our priests and the Catholic Church more than he does. So while individual priests are being attacked, Satan's real goal is the destruction of the Catholic Church by doing away with its priests. Satan knows: No priests~no Jesus in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the source and summit of our Catholic faith; its destruction would be imminent without it. Satan knows it, and we need to remember it!
Today the Church celebrates the memorial of St John the Baptist's Martyrdom. No one was a better herald of the Truth than he was (along with perhaps St Paul). John was not afraid to tell Herod of the sins he was committing, and he wasn't afraid to speak the truth to anyone else who would listen either. We, as practicing Catholics, need to follow the example of John. We must decrease in our pride and our fear, so that the Truth, Jesus Himself will increase. Our priests act in persona Christi, in the person of Christ. When we defend the truth and speak out for the innocent among them, we speak out for Christ and defend the Church He began.
We are called to be heralds of truth and justice. It is time to stop keeping quiet when and where we see injustice being done.
I am not the only one speaking out for Fr. Gordon MacRae and the injustice going on against innocent priests. My friend and fellow Catholic blogger,Mary at The Beautiful Gate has written two excellent posts about Fr. Gordon's case. As a New Hampshire resident, Mary has found more on this case than many of the rest of us have been able to come across. I encourage you to read her posts Fr. Gordon MacRae~Scaling The Walls of Injustice and Fr. Gordon MacRae~Balancing the Scales of Justice.
I also encourage you to watch the clip from EWTN's The World Over where Raymond Arroyo speaks with Bill Donahue of the Catholic League. Bill Donahue has written and spoken much on Fr. Gordon's case and he has more than a few harsh but justifiable words for SNAP.
I began writing about Fr. Gordon MacRae back in 2009 when I first found his story at Priests in Crisis. You can find the other posts I've written about him by typing his name in the "Search This Blog" box at the top of my left sidebar.
In Fr. Gordon's post last Wednesday, he began the post with the quote: "These are the times that try men's souls." Indeed they are, and perhaps they are times that are trying the souls of our priests even more so.

Mary, Queen of the Apostles, obtain for us many holy and faithful priests, and intercede for those unjustly accused.

4 comments:

Karinann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mary333 said...

Karin,
I watched the interview with Bill Donahue, also, and found his words regarding SNAP worrisome to say the least. The organization may have originally started with the intention of helping the victims of abuse but it seems to have snowballed into something else altogether. This happens when the goal becomes attacking the Church rather than placing the focus on truth and justice. As you say, the agenda of SNAP is not sincere and the organization is using emotional manipulation to draw people to their "side". Since emotional responses run high when it comes to abuse it's very easy to manipulate both the media and the general public.

I am all for putting a stop to sexual abuse (of any kind) but I don't like "witch hunts" either. We've seen where these can lead. Scary. I know there are child predators out there and I want them off the streets as much as the next person but at the same time I hate to see someone's life destroyed only to find out later that the person was innocent.(In the state next to me a family who ran a daycare center spent years in prison and were finally released after the charges against them were proven to be false.)

Thanks for your excellent article, Karin. I appreciate that you linked my post.

Karinann said...

Thanks Mary. Glad to see the comments are working again. In the name of helping victims, organizations like SNAP have begun abuse of another kind.

mary333 said...

My comments must have not been working either because I got an e-mail today from a woman who tried to comment on my post about Fr. MacRae but was unable to so she sent an e-mail instead.

Very good point, Karin - "organizations like SNAP have begun abuse of another kind"
You are right...they have.

Closing Prayer

Psalm 45: Canticle of Love to the King

My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.

Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.