|Andrzej "Andrew" Urbaniak|
Yet another priest is charged with terrible crimes against children, this time in Boston and this time involving child pornography. Apparently when the police arrived with their search warrants the computer in the church office was actively downloading child porn under Andrzej "Andrew" Urbaniak's direction. The Boston diocese has suspended the priest pending an investigation, and Urbaniak faces up to twenty-five years imprisonment if convicted. Sadly, cases like this and worse are so ubiquitous that such stories don't even rate front page news. The Providence Journal buried their coverage on page 2.
The lack of outrage among Catholics about such events is evidence of of a kind of post traumatic stress disorder. They and their religion have been hit so many times that another atrocity is to be expected as part of the natural order of things. Ignoring the never ending litany of horrors perpetrated by pedophile priests has become a sacrament and cognitive dissonance an article of faith among Catholics.
But faith wavers when the crime strikes close to home. In the Boston Globe article about the crimes there is the following:
But with so many high-profile cases of abusive Catholic priests, [Zdzislaw Marecki, president of the Polish American Citizen Club] said, it is difficult not to become cynical about even the most popular church leaders.
“He tried to tell people how to live – what’s right and what’s wrong,” Marecki said. “Well, it looked like he didn’t do it himself.”
Suddenly all cognitive dissonance vanishes and, at least for a moment, a kind of clarity asserts itself as the hypocrisy is revealed. For some people, a lucky few, this new found clarity will take hold and last. Perhaps this will be the case for Zdzislaw Marecki, but for many more this terrible tragedy will become a "test of faith." I would be willing to bet that the Boston Diocese has already chosen the priest to lead the Sunday service, and that the term "test of faith" is already written into that priest's sermon.
I would not be surprised if their were some kind of standardized sermon with boilerplate language that has been tested and refined for maximum mollification of outraged and violated parishes.
“I wish it wasn’t true,” Agnieszka [30, who attends the church and declined to give her last name] said of the accusations. “We all trusted him so much.”
By the time Agnieszka leaves church Sunday morning, her wish will be granted, and "it," the fact that her religion has a long history of raping and torturing children, will no longer be true in her mind. She will learn that her faith has been challenged by recent events but also strengthened, and she will transfer her trust in one priest for trust in another. The new priest might well be a perfectly decent man, and this dark event in the history of the church will fade from memory in time.
But a few, a very few people, might wake up.
Let's hope so.