Watching Darmiud Martin on "60 Minutes" a few minutes ago, I realized how starved and inured I had become to the possibility that there were people of decency and principle and courage. Martin is the Archbishop of Dublin and he gave me -- dare I say it? -- hope.
Hope and reassurance.
It is simultaneously wonderful and horrific to be disabused of the fact that the best leadership in the world wears patriotic lapel pins or, in Martin's case, the vestments of virtue camouflaging despicable acts.
Martin speaks out against the priestly abuse of children in the Roman Catholic Church. But not only does he speak out -- and invite the wrath of a Vatican which would prefer to forget about the damage it has done -- he also acts out ... holding a Mass for the victims, prostrating himself before the altar, washing the feet of the victims, and asking to be allowed to meet with a class of eight-year-olds as a means of confronting face-to-face the age at which so many were abused.
The show made me want to cry. Cry for those who had suffered. Cry for those who relentlessly -- whether at Penn State or The Citadel or Zen Studies Society -- attempt to say the tragedies are past and should be forgotten ... and surely not acknowledged at this late date. Begging forgiveness? Forgetaboutit! And cry that I had felt forced to shut my shutters against the possibility of decency and courage and principle. It makes me feel both better and considerably more vulnerable to ingest a man like Darmiud Martin. Thank you, you bastard!
If the Vatican ever musters the courage and forthrightness and kindness to follow in his footsteps, I will consider becoming a Catholic.