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.