Just finished reading John Allen's recent article on Pope Benedict's former and current activity with regard to the clerical abuse of children.
The article is well worth reading in its own right. But I was struck by a couple of the comments, which put forth the arguement that at most clergy abuse children at about the same rate as the rest of society. In other words, the clerical abuse problem is small in the context of the larger sexual abuse problem in Western (at least) society.
Which made me think of the comments on this blog that the torture problem is tiny compared to the problem of abortion in our country.
Yet, even given that sexual abuse by clergy is numerically smaller than sexual abuse by relatives or schoolteachers or other sections of society - this is no reason to pretend that sexual abuse by clergy is in any way tolerable or easily ignored. Rather, we pray that progress in bringing justice to pedophile priests and healing to victims of their abuse will lead to progress in bringing all abusers to justice and all victims to healing.
Likewise, my own personal hope (and, I think, the hope of the members of our little Coalition) is that by working for the recognition of the inherent dignity even of enemies and terrorists we can bring to light the dignity of the unborn, the elderly, the infirm and handicapped, and so on. In other words, my hope is that by not denying the problems that are small, we can stand more firm in the face of problems that are large.
No one denies that there are more abortions in this country than there are incidents of torture. Yet this does not make torture tolerable or easily ignored. Indeed, by ignoring torture, we tear apart the thread of logic that allows us to speak of the dignity of the unborn, or the dignity of the elderly, or the dignity of any vulnerable person anywhere. Our goal is to uphold that dignity and to say with our Lord, "Behold, it is very good!"