I’m not Catholic, but I have always been attracted to Catholicism probably because they won’t have me. That’s an exaggeration, they will only half have me. Being married three times does not a good Catholic make.
Anyway I, like so many people of all Christian persuasions, have been appalled and dismayed over the revelation of just how extensive the sex abuse scandal is among the Church. In fact, it finally filtered all the way down to Martinsville last week when the Diocese of Richmond released a list of 42 priests in this part of the state that are named as involved in some way. Two of them served as pastor of the St. Joseph Catholic Church here.
Harris Markam Findlay pastored St. Joseph’s from 1955 to 1959 and I suppose we are to presume he is deceased (it doesn’t say) and John Joseph Munley who pastored from 1971 to 1974 and is listed as having passed in 1995.
Now this list doesn’t say what these priests did, how many they did it with, or how long it went on. In fact, it doesn’t say anything at all, it just list the names and offers an apology to the victims and families that might have been subjected to the abuse.
I’m all for shining the light on people who do this kind of thing, but making a list and giving it to the public with no details other than associating the names with sexual abuse and apologizing makes me almost as uncomfortable as the cover-up did. What if someone’s name got on the list mistakenly? What if the accuser lied? How is anyone to know? And certainly the two priests from Martinsville have not the ability to stand up, admit or deny, and face their accuser. Instead, their once good names have been ruined, piled in the heaps of wrongdoing by a Catholic clergy for generations. Perhaps they deserve it, perhaps they don’t. Either way, the judgement has been made from the top down and the public has not been given any shred of evidence to have the slightest confidence they are right.