Last week, Notre Dame president Father John Jenkins said that it is "deeply problematic" for people to turn men like Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who recently resigned amid sexual abuse allegations, into "monsters." In response, a student of the university's law school penned a letter publicly rebuking Jenkins.
"There’s a tendency, and I don’t think it’s a helpful tendency in this kind of situation, to turn the perpetrators into monsters," Jenkins recently told Crux in an interview. "[The tendency is] just to imagine that they are thoroughly corrupt people, but the problem is that it’s not true. It’s a part of their lives that is deeply problematic, but another part that is not. And that’s why it’s so hard to identify the problem, and sometimes, that person doesn’t seem to see the problem."
Cardinal McCarrick is alleged to have sexually abused minors as well as seminarians who were under his care in the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey. He went on to become one of the most powerful cardinals in the United States, and one who persistently abused his authority to push left-wing causes. At one point, he concealed a letter from Cardinal Ratzinger that forbade prelates from giving Holy Communion to pro-abort politicians.
In a letter to the editor of the Notre Dame Observer, ND law student Deion Kathawa asserted that Father Jenkins is essentially guilty of trying to bring complexity to a situation that requires none, LifeSiteNews notes.
"There is nothing ‘complex’ about what has happened here at all," writes Kathawa. "Priests, who are commanded to tend to their parishioners as a shepherd to his flock...sexually abused the most vulnerable in their charge, children, and men like McCarrick, when they weren’t debasing themselves by abusing others, systematically covered it up."
The Crux article describes Jenkins' view as one befitting an "Oxford-educated philosopher," but Kathawa argues that such a title should not exclude one from using common sense.
"Frankly, only an ‘Oxford-educated philosopher’ could possibly see anything in this heinous mess other than a thick coating of demonic filth, a filth that now covers the Body of Christ and obscures her God-given mission," Kathawa states. "Institutions that churn out moral illiterates, bereft also of common sense, do not deserve our respect, regardless of how ‘prestigious’ they are."
In the Crux interview, Jenkins characterized McCarrick as a kind of "tragic" figure, a good man who lost himself to the dark side. "It’s tragic, and by this I don’t mean to imply not culpable, but there’s a deep tragedy here," Jenkins said. "As with many people who are responsible for such acts — I haven’t spoken with him, so I’m speaking generally — there’s a certain rationalization that goes on that allows them to compartmentalize their lives and that’s part of the challenge, a failure to confront reality."
Kathawa concludes the letter by rebutting Jenkins' partial defense, arguing that McCarrick's crimes are the product of a spiritually and morally bankrupt man who used his position of authority to indulge himself, not some Shakespearean protagonist who fell prey to his darker impulses.
"Rather than give of themselves fully – spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically – these priests selfishly indulged their own twisted, sinful desires and abused those they were to love, even unto death – like Christ," Kathawa concludes.