Let Us Return, Wounded, to Christ - ARTICLES

Let Us Return, Wounded, to Christ

Julián Carrón, President of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation. La Repubblica

4/4/2010 | 17:55

Dear Editor,
None of us has ever been as dismayed as we are in front of the heart-wrenching
story of child abuse. Our dismay arises from our inability to respond to the
demand for justice which springs from the bottom of our hearts.
The request to assume responsibility, the acknowledgement of the evil
committed, the reprimand for the mistakes made in the handling of the affair – all
of this seems to us to be totally inadequate as we face this sea of evil. Nothing
seems to be enough. And so we can understand the frustrated reactions that
have been coming forth at this time.
This has all served the purpose of making us stand face to face with our demand
for justice, acknowledging that it is limitless, bottomless – as deep as the wound
itself. Since it is infinite, it can never be satisfied. So the dissatisfaction,
impatience and even the disillusionment of the victims are understandable, even
after all the injuries and mistakes have been admitted: nothing can satisfy their
thirst for justice. It’s like entering into an endless struggle. From this point of
view, the ones who committed the abuse are paradoxically facing a challenge
similar to that of the victims: nothing can repair the damage that has been done.
This in no way means that their responsibility can be lifted, and much less the
verdict that justice may impose upon them; it would not be enough even if they
were to serve the maximum sentence.
If this is the case, then the most burning question, which no one can escape, is
as simple as it is unavoidable: “Quid animo satis?” What can satisfy our thirst for
justice? This is where we begin to feelall our powerlessness, so powerfully
expressed in Ibsen’s Brand: “Answer me, God, in the jaws of death: Is there no
salvation for the Will of Man? No small measure of salvation?” In other words,
cannot the whole force of human will succeed in bringing about the justice that
we so long for?
This is why even those who demand it most, those who are most insistent in
calling for justice, will not be loyal to the depth of their nature with its demand for
justice if they do not face this incapacitythat they share with all men. Were we
not to face it, we would fall prey to an even crueler injustice, to a veritable
assassination of our humanity, because inorder to keep on crying out for the
justice that we formulate according to our own measurement, we have to silence
the voice of our hearts, thus forgetting the victims and abandoning them in their
It is the Pope who, paradoxically, in his disarming boldness, has not fallen prey to
reducing justice to any sort of human measure. To begin with, he admitted
without hesitation the gravity of the evil committed by priests and religious,
urged them to accept their responsibility for it, and condemned the way certain
bishops in their fear of scandal have handled the affair, expressing his deep
dismay over what had happened and taking steps to ensure that it not happen
again. But then, he expressed his full awareness that this is not enough to
respond to the demand that there be justice for the harm inflicted: “I know that
nothing can undo the wrong you have endured. Your trust has been betrayed and
your dignity has been violated.” Likewise, even if the perpetrators serve their
sentences, repent, and do penance, it will never be enough to repair the damage
they did to the victims and to themselves.
Benedict XVI’s recognition of the true nature of our need, of our struggle, is the
only way to save our full demand for justice; it is the only way to take it
seriously, to take it fully into consideration. “The demand for justice is a need
that is proper to man, proper to a person. Without the possibility of something
beyond, of an answer that lies beyond the existential modalities that we can
experience, justice is impossible… If the hypothesis of a ‘beyond’ wereeliminated,
that demand would be unnaturally suffocated” (Father Giussani). So how did the
Pope save this demand? By calling on the only one who can save it, someone who
makes the beyond present in the here and now, namely, Christ, the Mystery
made flesh. “Jesus Christ … was Himself a victim of injustice and sin. Like you, He
still bears the wounds of His own unjust suffering. He understands the depths of
your pain and its enduring effect upon your lives and your relationships, including
your relationship with the Church.” Calling on Christ is not a way to seek a hiding
place to run off to in the face of the demandfor justice: it is the only way to bring
justice about. The Pope calls upon Christ, and steers clear of a truly dangerous
shoal, that of distancing Christ from the Church, as if the Church were too full of
filth to be able to bear Him. The Protestant temptation is always lurking. It would
have been very easy to give in to, but at too high a price – that of losing Christ.
Because, as the Pope recalls, “it is inthe communion of the Church that we
encounter the person of Jesus Christ.” And so, aware of the difficulty both the
victims and the guilty have “to forgive or be reconciled with the Church,” he dares
to pray that, by drawing near to Christ and sharing in the life of the Church, they
“will come to rediscover Christ’s infinite love for each one of you,” since He is the
only one able to heal their wounds and rebuild their lives.
This is the challenge facing all of us who are incapable of finding an answer for
our sins and for the sins of others: agreeing to take part in Easter, which we
celebrate during these days, as the only way to see the re-blossoming of hope.

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