MANILA, APRIL 24, 2010 (STAR) HINTS AND TRACES By Fr. Roy Cimagala (The Freeman) - There seems to me a media bloodbath against the Church these days. The indiscriminate digging up of cases of clergy sex abuses and piling them up as evidence of a Church-wide conspiracy to avoid justice are simply unbelievable.

What's coming out is not so much an honest effort to ferret out the truth and to seek appropriate justice as to vomit venom and bad blood even on the Pope. There's wanton massacre of persons.

It's becoming clear that the current crisis is the handiwork of the rabid enemies of the Church, making use of clergy victims to launch their attacks against the Church. All have an ax to grind against the Church, afflicted with the quixotic animus of destroying and quashing her to death.

Imagine unearthing cases dating years and ages ago. And without knowing exactly not only the finer details but also the salient developments of each case, they blast off into wild accusations based mainly on their speculations and, of course, their bleeding hatred.

They cast off restraint and moderation. They give full bent to their intemperance. They look invincibly convinced they are in entirely right. What they suspect is really what happened, no ifs and buts about it.

They seem not to have any room for the possibility of personal conversions and atonement of the people involved. They seem not have space for things like mercy and magnanimity. Their suffocating sense of justice blinds them to these human needs.

They drag suspects to the open, and subject them to all sorts of public humiliations. I suppose they'd be happy if some lynching would take place. Even those who are already dead are taken out of their graves in a pure display of spite.

The media people, some of them anyway, enjoy these things. It's a feast for them, a field day. Glued only to the external facts, they play blind to the inner workings of these news items.

They know that limiting themselves to that level already sells enormously. So, why dig deeper? Why bother about the before and after of the cases, the social, cultural and spiritual context of these cases? Oversimplifying things is to go sensational, is to get at the jugular, is to make money.

Well, good luck to you, guys - atheists, agnostics, secularists, dissenters. I don't wish to sound hubristic, but there's something you will never understand if you just stop at your brilliant reasoning and mock the faith.

For sure, you have managed to cause some kind of crucifixion to the Church in general. But this, according to Christian faith, has always been not only to be expected but also to be welcomed and embraced. It serves to purify and strengthen the Church.

In short, what's happening now is nothing new. It's part of the regular cycle in the life of both the Church and the world. It's part of the continuing process of identifying the Church and the world more and more with the crucified Christ. These conflicts are an unavoidable ingredient in life.

It's actually like a favor done to the Church. I don't know whether many people understand that. In the Gospel, when Christ had to impart a mysterious lesson to the people, he would say, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." Only those who try to live by faith would understand this divine logic.

Non-believers can soar sky-high in their reasoning, and hiss and mock at believers as much as they want, but they will fail to get the point unless they change.

Obviously, given our human condition, there is also need to clarify the issues and avoid playing the ostrich, with head in the sand. Christian believers are not averse to engaging anyone in a healthy, constructive dialogue, and to face the full weight of human justice, no matter how imperfect it is.

It's true there had been unspeakable offenses committed by some clergy. It's true there had been errors of judgment, even serious ones, committed by some Church authorities who handled these cases.

The Pope, in his recent letter to the Irish bishops regarding these Church scandals, already listed some of the root causes of the scandals. Appropriate measures are already afoot. These will take time, of course. Patience, hope and good will are needed.

Also recently, he called for penitence from everyone, but especially from those involved in the abuses. I was just dismayed to learn that even this papal call was distorted by some people who seem bent at nothing less than kicking the Pope out.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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