Published: September 3, 2011
Everyone suffers and all are losers. The twisted priests who hurt the children were expunged from the Church. Those who still live will die in shame. The children, many now grown, were robbed of innocence. Irish Bishops are in disgrace and Vatican functionaries have lost still more credibility and influence.
Where can compassion begin in this sea of suffering when so many seek to blame and punish, and when some champion the children to gain power, not to heal?
Compassion begins with calm assessment: Demand responsible action from everyone involved, again and again, without anger or blame. See to the needs of those who have been injured, and stay at hand until they are restored. Respect privacy but forbid secrets. Do whatever is needed, gently but decisively, so that it never happens again.
The Dalai Lama wrote:
"Sometimes we think that to develop an open heart, to be truly loving and compassionate, means that we need to be passive, to allow others to abuse us, to smile and let anyone do what they want with us. Yet this is not what is meant by compassion. Quite the contrary. Compassion is not at all weak. It is the strength that arises out of seeing the true nature of suffering in the world. Compassion allows us to bear witness to that suffering, whether it is in ourselves or others, without fear. It allows us to name injustice without hesitation, and to act strongly, with all the skill at our disposal."