The source of all healing

The source of all healing

Matt Abbott reprints an open letter from a New Jersey priest, Fr. Robert Hoatson, to Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston, criticizing his Novena to the Holy Spirit in reparation for the sins of the Scandal taking place at 9 parishes that felt the impact of the abuse most keenly. Hoatson basically repeats what other critics of the novena have said, which is that it's wrong to invite survivors to engage in any Catholic worship experiences since it was priests who abused them and bishops who covered up. There's a flaw in that logic: If a victim was physically abused in a hospital, would you say he should never go to a doctor for healing? Of course not. Likewise, the only real cure for the damage done by abuse, especially the spiritual murder of their faith, can come from Christ the Healer.

No one is saying that every victim has to attend these events. Certainly those who feel like it is time for them to go should go. But this novena is as much about the rest of us to pray for forgiveness for failing to do what should have been done, to pledge ourselves to never let it happen again, and to seek through prayer and penitential acts to build up the grace for victims to be healed and for Christ's Church to once again become a beacon of grace and light.

Hoatson's name should sound familiar

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  • I am very happy that Cardinal Sean is doing these nine days of healing and prayers for forgiveness.  I felt like it was the one thing he really hadn’t done for the victims. 

    I have not been to one, nor do I intend to, but one of friend’s did, and I was speaking to him the other day about it.  He had an observation:

    The news continually quotes people saying, “He has done nothing for us.”  Apparently, one of the men who spoke at one of the days of prayer repeated that.  “Sure he has given us money, removed the priests, visited us and our families, and paid for therapy, but when is he going to start doing what we want?”  But he never mentioned what he wanted.

    Well, what do they want?  As my friend said, the Cardinal is a nice enough man that if they tell him, he’ll at least pray about it.  They have a lot of anger towards a man (the Cardinal) but they don’t know why.  Only Christ can heal that.

  • I read the Abbott piece. Of particular interest was one of Father Hoatson’s demands:

    “Finally, you can hand over to Rescue & Recovery International, Inc. the keys to a property in Boston that is no longer used by the Church.  I will turn it into a facility for treatment and support of clergy abuse survivors.  Perhaps the Milton property that used to house and hide the pedophiles might be appropriate.”

    Using a known pedophiles’ hangout for the healing of their victims? Is it me, or is that just a little sick?

  • So they can’t go into a Catholic church for a healing service because a Catholic priest abused them, but they can go into a former hangout for priest perverts for healing? Does anyone else see the inconsistency here?

  • Please, folks, don’t write off the abuse survivors as hostile to the Church.  Some of the survivors attending these services are committed Catholics of sound faith.  They’re not a uniform “them”; some of them are some of us.

    They may even have some skepticism about whether the bishops are cleaning up their act, but the fact that they show up at these services of public repentance is a sign that they’re willing to see it happen.

  • I don’t think most of these comments are directed at all the survivors, and especially not at those inside the churches at these services, but are instead directed at those outside criticizing them and protesting.

  • Dymphna, I completely agree that the bad guys (even though I believe some meant well) were the ones who covered this up and the people who abused them (who may well just be sick, not just “bad”). Nor did I intend to make it seem like all of the people are like this. In fact, I said “many of them” for a reason.  When people continue to demand “things” but won’t state what those things are, they are refusing to be healed.  They are just harboring anger.