Editor’s Note: This article was written in April 2010 but its message continues to be relevant today…..
We’ve all had some emotional reaction to the ongoing saga of Catholic priests molesting young people in their charge. For me, the emotions have run from disgust over the actions of the priests to sympathy for their victims to anger at how the church has handled the matter to a general sadness over the whole affair. I’m sure many of you had the same emotions. If you’re Catholic, then you might mix in a bit of embarrassment. I’ve also seen a bit of smugness from atheists who believe that religion consistently does more harm than good.
I’m not here today to reiterate any of the ongoing details nor to launch into judgment over the priests’ actions or the church’s reaction. Rather, I’m asking us to consider what can we learn from all of this? What lessons do these events offer us, personally and collectively, so we can move forward and all do better? Here are my thoughts in no particular order. You might see some other things that we can learn from this mess. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
We all have a shadow side that we should work on healing. This goes for organizations as well as individual people. We had better work on healing it or it will reach out and bite us. Where is your shadow? What are you doing to move beyond it?
Always do the right thing even if it’s a hard thing. Care and concern for all humanity should before care and concern for an organization, religion, corporation, tradition, political party or any other smaller subset of humanity. We should always be an integrity and take the correct action even if in the short run it harms ourselves, our friends, or any group of which we are a part. Is there anywhere in your life where you’re not being in integrity?
Our beliefs, faith and truths should be anchored in something higher than human organizations. Whether you believe in a higher power or not, you believe something to be true about life. Follow your own reasoning. Follow your own intuition. Seek truth even if it takes you beyond the boundaries of any group or teaching that has served you in the past. Don’t limit your truth seeking by a personal sense of loyalty to groups and individuals who are ultimately not infallible. Is there anywhere in your life where your loyalty to others is limiting your growth and wisdom?
Humanity always learns and grows through every challenge, this too will pass. Sometimes it seems like we’re slow learners and keep making the same mistakes, but I am optimistic that humanity is continuously evolving in a positive direction. Negative events such as this are held up to the light and scrutinized with an eye towards the question “is this the highest and best for all of us?” When it’s not, such as in this case, the ship of humanity’s consciousness slowly turns towards the better direction. What lessons have you learned from these tragic events that serves your growth? What lessons do you see that we can all learn from?
Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!