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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Let's Talk About it: The Decision

Dear Friends of SCCB,

I have decided that whatever good Sylvia's advocacy of sexual abuse victims has done and is doing, I tend to see it now as a private forum for victims, thus I do not think that its inclusion on the SCCB list aids that goal. Victims needs to express themselves, and don't need their every word measured and thrown back at them by people - like me - who are concerned about other goods, like reputations, etc. The same courtesy that I wanted extended to Bishop Wingle, I will extend to those who benefit from Sylvia's Site, by letting them be. This is the courtesy to exist in the manner they deem best. I too must let others be, and, as such, will no longer carry her blog on the SCCB list.

I wish all victims of sexual abuse every solace in Christ. I have not been the victim of this and can only imagine the toll it takes on people. The 'little' things I have suffered in life I find hard enough to carry. By comparison, I have nothing to compare... I hope that Sylvia will promote healing and justice. I hope we all can in our own ways.

A whole lot rests on who turns out to be correct - those who say Wingle's motives were nefarious or those who say they are benign. I had hoped that people would see that when it comes to 'guessing' it doesn't matter who turns out to be right. Philosophers often say that knowledge is justified belief. No one, in other words, who hasn't specific evidence upon which to base their assumption of his innocence or guilt has knowledge. They have a blind shot in the dark. It is either yes or no. It is luck to be correct in this case, not some special mystical knowledge. It is a disgusting vice to look at the colour of someone's clothing and feel the right to impugn their reputation; it is not graced insight. Some people make such guesses out of hurt, some out of hate. In neither case is it justified belief. In the end, if Wingle's supporters are correct, what do they gain? His detractors, what do they gain? Has anyone gained greater peace, or simply smug satisfaction?

Frankly, I find people's nosing into my character because I urge caution when making assumptions rather distasteful. (It happened again in the comments section of that blog.) I cannot contribute to anyone's healing on the internet. I will turn to prayer to do this and I will do this by walking with my hurt friends, hand-in-hand, in person. Arguing with people in com boxes can profit nothing. I like a good debate. But I have found that many do not, not in the hallowed halls of learning, not in boardrooms. I will not change my deep love of the principles by which I live - love of knowledge and the principles of the liberal democracy, as I understand them - because others cannot refrain from ad hominem attacks. I walk away to seek the fraternity of those who don't need to win at all cost, but who love truth, goodness, etc.

The SCCB is meant to be a celebration of Catholic life in Canada. No, I can't view the world through rose coloured glasses (that I rarely do!), but I must draw a line around certain excesses, like playing fast-and-loose with others' reputations. That's my call. Hopefully it's the correct one.


  1. Poor choice.

    When the bumpy road to "promote healing and justice" gets a little disconcerting for you personally, the answer is not to further marginalize those who have already become accustomed to being "thrown away" as Pope Francis might say. And now they 'get thrown away" one more time.

    If the site becomes a "private forum for victims" as you now label it, it will be because another individual or group or organization, turned their back on them yet again, and gave them that label. I know, I know, someone cast doubts on the character of the bishop, and then on you personally.

    And if these "victims" had a dollar for every time doubt has been cast on their character? ..........well, let's try hard to imagine, how long do you think we might hold up under that kind of scrutiny and judgment from day to day? When all it takes is one such personal incident to cause us to cut them off from the mainstream entirely. Obviously, not very long with such sensitive egos as that.

    Yes. Very poor choice, very poor choice in deed.