A Melbourne Catholic priest has compared paedophile priests to adulterous women and said victims of sexual abuse would be “denied healing” because the “baying crowd” of media and lawyers don’t understand mercy, in statements published in a primary school newsletter.
The Malvern East priest Father Bill Edebohls, who under Victoria’s Catholic school structure is head of schools in his parish, made the comments in a homily delivered at St Mary’s church. It was reprinted in full in the March newsletter of St Mary’s primary school in Malvern East, Fairfax Media has reported.
“Part of my concern with the current royal commission on the institutional sexual abuse of minors is that we may in the end gain justice for the victims but they will be denied healing,” the homily says. “Why? Because both the media and the lawyers, like the baying crowd of men in the gospel ready to throw stones, don’t understand the need for a justice that is drenched in mercy.”
He made the comparison to extramarital affairs after recounting the gospel story about Jesus showing mercy to an adulterous woman who was to be stoned to death by saying: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
“For our generation, where adultery is not regarded as a crime – and many have lost the moral sense of the destructive harm adultery does to family and community – and the media dish adultery up night after night as playful entertainment – we probably don’t get the power of the gospel story nor the dramatic effect on the characters in the story,” the homily says.
“Remember this was a sin, a crime that carried the death penalty – by stoning. Maybe to get the real drama and effect of the story we ought to replace the adulterous woman with a paedophile priest. Then we might begin to understand the mob eager to stone and the outrageous and profligate mercy and compassion of God ever ready to forgive.” The Guardian