My sister-in-law went to the Stations of the Cross last Friday at her parish, a very good, orthodox parishin the Boston archdiocese. She decided to take her children along, four boys and a girl, ranging in age from 10 to six months. When she got there she was stunned and dismayed. Every prayer and reflection of the Stations was on the Scandal. She’d had no warning in the parish bulletin that this was the case and now she’d exposed her children once again to something that they didn’t need to be thinking about.
Apparently, this wasn’t just her parish either. This form of the Stations was sent out in the official archdiocesan mailing to every parish for use during Lent. I talked to my pastor about it and he was taken aback because until then he had thought about how it might be inappropriate for families. Granted, it’s a sad fact that the not many families (or anyone else for that matter) attend these events, but even so, it should taken into consideration.
A similar thing happened at my parish on Sunday. The priest celebrating Mass, not my pastor, is known for talking about the Scandal a lot. And it’s often in the context of “let’s stop bashing the Church, we must forgive, and let’s move on.” Well, this Mass he was specifically speaking to the children about the story of Noah, asking them questions and the like. He asked why God flooded the earth and a child responded that it was because of peoples’ sin. The priest said, That’s right and it reminds me of another story of sin, of Sodom and Gommorah. He asked, “Do you know what the sin of Sodom and Gommorah was?” Right there, people started shaking their heads, and I knew that nothing good could come of that question. He answered it himself, “The sexual abuse of children, especially boys.” What in the world would possess him to talk about that with children, especially without giving parents’ forewarning?
I think Karen Hall hit the nail on the head in a comment on one of my earlier posts. There’s often a big gap in reaction to the Scandal between those who have kids and those who don’t and some priests just don’t seem to understand that there might be a problem with exposing children to this evil if their parents have decided not to expose them to it. In a way, it’s another form of abuse like the way some of the protesters outside churches will yell at children entering for Mass to cover their “privates.”
It seems that in the name of protecting the children, some people are just doing more damage to them as they advance what they see as their solutions to the problem. I just wish they would use better judgment.