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Author Michael O’Brien on the abuse scandal

April 21, 2011

Michael O’Brien, the author of Father Elijah and other novels published by Ignatius Press, has commented on the abuse scandal in an article published in Canadian diocesan newspapers.

“The Lord is purifying his household, he is purifying the Bride in preparation for meeting the Bridegroom,” said O’Brien, who suffered physical abuse and narrowly escaped sexual abuse at a Catholic-run Indian residential school when he is 13.“It is painful; it is humiliating; it is necessary.”

“Horrendous spiritual and moral blindness has been justified by calling it enculturation,” he added. “Enculturation into the moral degradation of the West is not authentic enculturation. It is in fact betrayal of the Gospel.”

O’Brien cited disobedience to papal authority, including directives against the ordination of men with homosexual inclinations, as a major factor in the scandal, but added that the laity have also failed in their responsibilities.

“Our failure as lay people in the West has been to compromise with the spirit of the world,” he added. “We have turned away from the Gospel; we have ceased listening.”

O’Brien advised abuse victims, who have been placed at the “service of someone else’s disordered appetites,” to turn to Christ and “beware of the back-door temptation to hatred.”

“Forgiveness is not sweet feelings about one who has abused us,” O’Brien said. “Authentic forgiveness is about praying for the redemption of those who have harmed us.”


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  • Posted by: Cornelius - Apr. 21, 2011 8:34 AM ET USA

    The apocalyptic implications of his statements are interesting, but there's no doubt a purification is going on in the Church. And the forces that brought us to this pass are still in high places and will not go without a fight.