On the final day of their three-day spring general meeting, the bishops reiterated a call from Pope Benedict and encouraged the faithful to pray intensely to “make reparation for the sins of abuse that have done so much harm”.
Abuse survivor Marie Collins:
It’s the bishops that survivors would want to see making reparation or atonement, humbling themselves in some way.
It’s insulting to think they’re expecting people to come out. The ordinary people are waiting to see them do something.
It is insulting. It’s also overly optimistic, premature, and imprudent.
A hero would pray for her persecutors. A saint would intercede for her rapist. Clearly, that sort of heroism and sanctity is not taught by the Irish hierarchy. In words or deeds. Will it come from the Gospels?
A lesson from Marriage Encounter is appropriate here. My wife and I learned about the value and importance of language from our first Encounter as an engaged couple. It’s simple:
Use “I” language.
When in a situation, particularly where offense has been given, and forgiveness and growth is sought, it is essential to use “I” language. It’s not just psychobabble. But it seems painfully obvious many Irish bishops, and perhaps the pope, are at the babble stage when it comes to understanding the scope of the bitterness in the Church at the immoral lawlessness that has taken place with the full cooperation of some bishops.
Instead of “The pope says you can atone,” the message needs to be more along the lines of, “I regret. I am sorry. I will make amends. Forgive me.”
Once the bishops learn this, we will begin to make progress. Meanwhile, stay on the lookout for examples of holiness. We need them more than ever in this messed-up Church.