Saturday, 28 November 2009

Broken Windows - Broken Lives

This is not my window. It is the window of Sir Fred Goodwin the ex bank chief. I have got a broken window. I discovered it yesterday morning when I came down for breakfast. There was glass everywhere in the kitchen and a very heavy stone on the floor, which had apparently bounced in three places making holes in the worktop and the floor. I have had windows attacked before, and I know there is a group of lads in the neighbourhood who occasionally like smashing other people's windows, but there was something unsettling about this event.

After calling the police and a glazier, I cleaned up and later, during the Mass, the thought came to me that it may have something to do with the report of clergy child abuse in Ireland (on the TV News the night before). My housekeeper had the same thought. It was a very heavy stone and not easy to pick up. Someone had thrown it with great force.

I must admit I was angry when I read the Archbishop of Dublin's apology following the publication of that report, and probably overreacted. Nevetheless, this has to be said, and I know I am not the only one saying it:

We need a clear, unequivocal recognition of guilt from the Archbishops, Bishops and their administrators. It cannot be just a case of ignorance. The report says that it is difficult to believe that. These were highly intelligent people. If I was an abuse victim or a relative of an abuse victim I would not be satisfied with the Archbishop's apology. By attempting to keep the offences committed by priests secret, and (is this even worse?) by treating alleged victims and their parents as liars, trouble makers, nuisances - call it what you will, those same authority figures became partly responsible for the occassions of abuse that followed. They betrayed the victims, their families, the loyal, Mass-going Catholics - and Christ Himself.

In future, I hope that we not only have reference to the sins of the priests and brothers (and religious sisters) but that those in authority simply and humbly, without verbosity, accept their share of the blame - for which there is no excuse!

If you want to heal something, you have to diagnose it correctly, and if you want to clear out the whole of an infection, you have to go into all the places where it hides.

I don't know if that stone through my window has anything to do with the abuse report, but if it has I am more concerned for the person who threw it than for myself or my window. Even if it has nothing to do with all this, it reminds me that broken windows are nothing compared to the terribly broken lives around us, some of which are the result of sexual abuse by trusted people.


  1. I will say a prayer that God guards your home with Angels.

  2. Thank you Father for what you have said here.

    What concerns me greatly is that these priests celebrated Mass daily, took Communion and no doubt went to Confession. They may or may not have confessed what they did to these children. If not, then they made a mockery of the Sacrament of Confession. If they did confess then surely whoever heard their confession and did nothing is accessory to the crimes they committed.

    It's a terrible state of affairs, not confined to the Catholic Church I suspect. Christ must be crying His heart out.

    I agree about what you say regarding broken lives. I've alluded to that in my Blog yesterday.

    God bless you.