Peter Isely on the Resignation of Bishop Finn, Abuse Survivors, and Persephone’s Pomegranate Seed


William D. Lindsey

A valuable piece of commentary from Peter Isely of SNAP Wisconsin, in his Facebook feed recently, about the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn and the pomegranate seed: Peter notes that the leaders of the Catholic church are divided into two teams, team Benedict and team Francis, one the “traditionalist tough guy” team, the other the “moderate” team. And because teams vie to be winners, making other teams losers, and because winners and losers continuously shift, there’s a whole lot of politicking and image-making and face-saving going on.

And then there are the survivors of childhood clerical abuse. And there’s justice, which these win-lose political games are almost never about:

Justice is something altogether different than this kind of two party politics. Justice doesn’t have teams. It doesn’t take the side of the exploited, the oppressed, and the dispossessed because justice is the exploited, the oppressed, and the disposed. They are not a team. They are those without a team. Any true social change originates in them. They are the part of the system that has no part in the system. They occupy the empty place of the system, the social and political space where the law has been annulled, vacated or subverted. That is why survivors, paradoxically, who represent no one, no faction, no particular interest are, unknown to them, the universal church, which has no place for them and does not know what to do with them.

Survivors are Persephone’s pomegranate seed, the biblical pearl in the field, the grain of mustard, overlooked and ignored by those playing the big-boy games — who sometimes change things in unexpected ways simply by being there. And by refusing to get caught up in the push-shove games of the ever-shifting teams of victors and losers . . . .

And as many of you probably now know, the latest unbelievable breaking news in the Finn story: as Rick Montgomery reports for Kansas City Star on Monday, he’ll be presiding at several ordinations next month in the diocese he (formerly?) headed — a decision that Yael T. Abouhalkah rightly calls “repulsive, reckless and yet a par-for-the-course decision by the local Catholic hierarchy.”

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.