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Let the Children Come!

Patricia McCarthy, CND

Photo credit: Marie-Claire Dugas

Immediately after the Super Bowl victory for the New England Patriots, the crowds were swarming the players and coaches, especially Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Typical of sports reporters following a championship game, most were trying to get a microphone in front of the key people involved with the usual inane question. “How do you feel about winning?” Or even worse, “How do you feel about losing?” All that is necessary is to say nothing and let the cameras roll. Is it not obvious what each one present is feeling at the moment?

One reporter broke the mold. He was with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Both men were holding little girls in their arms. Tom Brady’s daughter was delighted with the confetti and squealing with delight. Bill also held a little girl. The only question the reporter asked him was, “Is this your granddaughter?” The smiling coach, a rare event in itself, beamed and nodded.

Interesting reality that the two men most the focus for all the Super Bowl hype were spending the first moments of victory clutching their children. The image spoke volumes. The victory was all the sweeter for the presence of the two little girls. Both men wanted to hug them in those first moments of relief at winning and the excitement in celebrating. It’s great to hold the Vince Lombardi Trophy, but it is cold metal, for all its desirability.

A person who holds a child in love and acts lovingly in all aspects of the child’s life is both giving and receiving love. The future is being formed in that child’s heart, body and psyche. And the future is still being formed in the adults. We grow until the moment we enter into eternity; or we stunt our own growth until the moment we step into eternity. Every time we choose to cherish and protect a child, we are doing the work of God. Jesus told us to let the children come to Him. When we love a child we are Jesus to that child. Jesus promised to be with us until the end of time, but he needs our hands and feet and hearts to do his work, to show his love.

As diocese after diocese in the United States begins to open its records about child abusers among the clergy, the shock and sorrow of the sinfulness of the Church against our children continues to flow over us like a sea of sorrow. The abuse of a child is the gravest of sins and also a crime. It needs to be dealt with in both religious and civic arenas. God’s mercy knows no limits, so we trust the perpetrator to that mercy. But we also must hold those who have abused children to the law of the land as well. Every abuse must be reported to the police.

Just as in any other criminal matter, it is also a crime to assist a perpetrator in covering up the crime. Those who cover abuse or know about it and do nothing are also guilty of a sin and of a crime. The minimum standard for the Church is that it keep the law involving reporting a crime. After it has done that, then the Church must stay with the people and together pray for protection, forgiveness and transformation. Together Church leaders and the people of God await the coming of the Spirit. The Spirit will lead us to healing only when we involve everyone in the quest for it. A child will lead us – the Christ Child and every other child as well, especially those who have suffered so much.

Article first published by the Rhode Island Catholic.



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