Monday, October 11, 2010

"A Saint for Our Time" /America /St. Mary Mackillop, an excommunicated nun/ Patron Saint of Sex Abuse Survivors

"The news that a soon-to-be-saint had once been excommunicated for her order’s part in urging the church to act against an accused sex offender is a reminder of the virulence and long history of crimes of abuse by members of the Catholic clergy."

"...But the fuller story is that Mother Mary MacKillop was excommunicated partially out of revenge for her order’s part in pointing to a case of abuse by a Father Keating. ..

"What might this episode mean for contemporary Catholics? First, it is no surprise that a saint found herself at odds with the church hierarchy. Joan of Arc, to take an extreme example, was burned at the stake in 1431 after being convicted of heresy by an English ecclesiastical court. Thomas Aquinas found his own writings under censure in the 13th century. The most recently canonized American saint, Mother Theodore Guérin, the independent-minded founder of the Sisters of Providence of St.-Mary-of-the-Woods, was instructed in 1847 by the bishop of Vincennes, Ind., to resign from her religious order. (The bishop was later removed from his post by the Vatican.)"

..."The prophet faces dismissive attitudes, hostile denials or, as in the case of Blessed Mary MacKillop and the Josephite Sisters, outright punishment. Only recently has the church begun to see whistleblowers in its own ranks as necessary—and sometimes holy.And what is more heroic than standing up for a victim when advocacy costs you membership in the church that you love?
Like all saints, she is a model for all Catholics. But at this time, abuse victims and their families especially need all the help they can get—from heaven as on earth."

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Let us praise God for courageous women like Mother Mary Mackillop, who will be canonized a saint on Oct. 17th, 2010 by Pope Benedict. She is the patron saint of Survivors of Sexual Abuse and of Advocates for Justice for Survivors of Clergy Sexual Abuse in our Church. St. Mary Mackillop, pray for us that we may all work together for justice and equality for all especially for victims of clerghy sexual abuse and for all those who are marginalized and ostracized in our church.

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