|Mary Mackillop : Setting the Record Straight
October 15, 2010
Blessed Mary MacKillop, is currently being dubbed by the media as the "Patron Saint of Whistleblowers" at a time when the Catholic Church has been battered by criticism over the way it dealt with the recent clerical sex abuse crisis. On the eve of her canonisation Veronica Scarisbrick speaks to the postulator for her cause Sister Maria Casey rsj.asking her if this description fits the picture ..
"...to set the record straight she herself did not denounce the priest, she was 2000 miles away when the events were reported ..her sisters who lived in the local convent reported the abuse to Father Woods and in turn he'd reported it to the Vicar General. The Bishop of the day was in Rome for the First Vatican Council and so the Vicar General took action as he was expected to do.He removed the priest immediately from the parish and having consulted, sent him back to Ireland . So his best friend then was very very angry with the events that unfolded and he pledged ....that he would destroy Father Woods and would also destroy the Josephite Sisters.
So indirectly it was a factor in the excommunication but indirectly because misinformation about other matters were then fed to the Bishop to help him come to the decision to excommunicate Mary. So it was a very very complex issue about the excommunication , it was a factor but not a direct factor..now as to whether or not it is reductive , I agree it is reductive. Mary stood for the dignity of all people regardless of their creed, their colour or what else ...she would not have condoned oppression or violation of anyone's dignity, whether by sex abuse or whether by diminishment ...in terms of employment or racial discrimination ...from that point of view I think saying she's the Patron of whistleblowers or of those that are absued does not encompass the person that Mary was. I'm not saying she wouldn't care ...she would have been vitally interested and was and suffered enormous pain for anyone who suffered abuse of any kind, so she would have been feeling their pain and she would have felt their loss of dignity and their loss of appreciation in the society. So , she would have been very in tune with their hurt and their needs but she's broader than that ...so that while that was part of who she was , she would be better to be the Patroness and I'm not sure how you would phrase it ... of the dignity of all people...men women and children, especially children because she felt that if children had the opportunity to be educated ..they would have a chance for a better life.."
"..we work with the people who have a loss of dignity ..the boat people , the people who are illegal migrants, the people who come in as refugees, the aboriginal people, we still have a very big commitment to the aborignal people..women who are being trafficked , men who are being trafficked , thh unemployed , those who need comfort in one way or another.... so Mary's legacy lives on..."
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