Thursday, June 01, 2006

A Life of Prayer and Penitence

I've had an idea, mulling in my brain, of what to do with clerical sex-offenders, rather than laicization or giving them the Caveman treatment. Why not establish a monastic order, dedicated to either St. Charles Lwanga, or St. Agnes of Rome, where violators can continue to work out their salvation in fear and trembling, but away from the temptations that they obviously are ill-equipped to resist. This is a long-term solution, not a couple month jaunt to St. Luke's Institute, and then a quiet reassignment. This would be voluntary: Either the violator accepts an obedience to report to the order (after his sentance is served in prison), or he gets laicized and thrown to the legal wolves.

The rule would be severe, the labor plentiful, and the comforts few. Contact with the outside world would be limited, to help the penitents refocus on their spiritual labors. No griping about the life to writers from the National Catholic Reporter, or other such public displays. The monks will farm, build, do special community projects, if needed, to generate some revenue to offset some of the costs to the host diocese(s).

This will NOT be a cloister for deviant religious to practice their deviancy. Medication to correct imbalances should be made available to help the penitent's get on an even keel, as well as real counselling (not just thereputic affirmation) for their psychological and spiritual shortcomings. The doctrine and liturgies will be traditional, with no disregard for rubrics. We don't want to substitute one kind of abuse for another.

This is just a basic idea I've been mulling. Anyone have some constructive additions to make? I'm thinking that if this model would work for violators already in the clergy, it could be widened to include laity as well. Society as a whole is struggling with what to do with sex offenders, and we could try to get them into an environment where their inherant dignity is upheld while keeping society shielded from further relapses. God loves sex offenders too, but society has not found a way to help them. Jail doesn't help their problems, and when they get out, the stigma and legal requirements make a normal life impossible.

Gimme feeback, link the heck out of it. I'd like to see everyone talking about this, if even for 5 minutes. And the discussion shouldn't start with " When can we put (insert name of suspect bishop here) in there?" But bishops would not be above inclusion, should the Pope see a need for it.

1 comment:

Colleen Powell said...

I really like your suggestion. It is very clear that what we're doing now with/for sexual abusers is not effective/helpful.