Some of the comments here have been quite interesting, and beg responses from someone familiar with the case of Fr. MacRae and with his posts on Roman Polanski and Fr. Maciel. First of all, for someone who presumably enjoys freedom to tell a wrongly imprisoned man that he "just needs to learn how to forgive" reminds me of what Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer referred to as "cheap grace." Flatly, that's easy for you to say. I have read and re-read Fr. MacRae's post on Fr. Maciel, and in no way do I see anywhere therein a defense of Fr. Maciel. MacRae writes with no judgement on whether the man is guilty of none of it, some of it, or all of it. That is for God to judge. The point he makes is that all of this discussion is taking place after Maciel departs the scene and cannot answer for any of it. The greater point is the vast difference in media coverage of the Roman Polanski case and that of Fr. Maciel and other priests who have been accused, some with evidence but most with none. The issue of the varying agendas is crystal clear to me. There are many commentators who now use the Maciel case to attack the reputation of another man who's no longer with us, Pope John Paul II. If you doubt this, just have a look at Joseph Bottum's "The Cost of Fr. Maciel" on the First Things website. I commented there, and some of the other commenters used what I wrote to cast doubt on whether the Church should pursue the beatification of Pope John Paul II. Alma Guilliermo Prieto did the same in the New York Review of Books article cited by Fr. MacRae in his post. It's also interesting that Anonymous seems to call Fr. MacRae's own credibility into question simply because he expressed a contrary opinion on the Maciel case. I think that person just proved Fr. MacRae's central point about guilt by association. It's easy to make these claims, but it's also easy to make them anonymously.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010