I can’t imagine why, can you? McCarrick has lived a reprehensible life hidden in the cloak of ecclesiastical superiority. His sins are disgusting, wrought upon the innocence of children and vulnerable young men. His pretense enrages us, rendering us fools for the honor and respect paid him.
McCarrick has become a symbol for the ghastly swath of sexual scandal running through the institutional Church’s core. He represents a misplaced faith, the distortion of clericalism, the corruption of trust, and the poisonous fruit of chauvinistic sexism in our culture.
He is a pathetic man with a failed life. But does God love him?
The answer is so important:
- because we hate in McCarrick what we hate in our Church – the institutionalized distortion of power in the name of faith.
- because if God does not love him, we have no need to forgive him
- because if God does love him, and forgive him, so must we
- because if we forgive him, we must forgive our Church
- because we must work to redeem and rebuild what we have forgiven
I don’t know Theodore McCarrick. I never met him or even thought of him. But when his crimes surfaced, I lost sleep over him. In this one man, all my mortal disappointment in our Church took flesh. All my heartbroken anger found a face to glare at, a life to scorn.
And then I looked at his picture. By some unexpected grace, I saw him for what he is – a broken, pitiable, failed old man whom God still loves. Seeing this, I saw our fractured, corrupted Church in a different light … the pale light of hope that it, too, might be redeemed.
If Theodore McCarrick’s life counts for anything positive among us, perhaps this is it.