The news of the conviction of Cardinal George Pell has been both shocking and disturbing and especially so for all who work in Catholic education. The behaviour of which he has been found guilty is appalling and unacceptable for any person let alone a senior Church leader.
Just as unacceptable and appalling has been the lack of a determined and Christ-like response to truly attend to the voices and needs of all victims of sexual abuse by so many members of the clergy. This is the mission now, demanding “not just words but real concrete action.” (Archbishop Coleridge)
For its crimes/sins, the Church must properly repent. To this end Good Samaritan Education, to which Mater Christi College belongs, is participating in the National Redress Scheme.
It is in times like this however that we must remember that the Church is made up of all who believe in God, in goodness, love and justice. There are many voices and an ever increasing call for a real conversion of our leadership structures, as Archbishop Mark Coleridge said in his homily at the recent Papal Summit, “power(turns) destructive when separated from service, when it is not a way of loving, when it becomes power over.”
Fr Frank Brennan on ABC 7:30 provides a way forward: “With leadership which in terms of public credibility is absolutely shattered, we are called back to the core of the Christian message and not to a lot of the Roman superstructure.” Some might put this simply as “what would Christ do?”.
Let us at this time of World Day of Prayer, pray for those whose lives have been so terribly harmed by sexual abuse, whose voices for change are ignored and for all who work hard to remain faithful to our God who is Goodness, Love, Justice and Truth.
May the God of love, peace and justice strengthen our efforts and lead us to more authentically “listen with the ear of our heart.”(St Benedict).