I wonder how many Catholics approach a church in a new town, perhaps the arrival of a new parish priest or bishop, the way I do. There one sits in the pew, getting a good look at the inevitably genial-appearing man performing the sacraments and delivering a suitably serious yet broadly accessible sermon message, and the thought is inevitable—“So, is this one a child abuser too?”
So begins a review of my memoir SPLIT that left me breathless.
My answer to that question is: All who stop to think.
There are a great many Catholics who don’t face the priesthood with that bedeviling query in their minds. Because they choose faith over facts.
Faith is – usually – a good thing. But when faith blinds a person to what is really going on before them, it ceases to be good and becomes a hindrance.
For decades now, the habit of seeing only the garments and the trappings, hearing only the pious words, has led many to refuse to look at the plain facts. And the fact is, when such a high percentage of clergy falls into sin of one kind, each believer has the responsibility to wonder. If they don’t, then they share the guilt when yet another child is abused.
What do you think when you meet a priest?
I’d love to hear from readers about their take on this reviewer’s question. So please leave a comment on this post telling me what goes through your mind when you meet a new priest. Is the first thought in your mind about where they fall in the spectrum of abuse?
Read the full review at San Francisco Book Review.