I work for a Catholic parish.
For some that might seem an odd choice, maybe even a betrayal after the tremendous wounds inflicted on my Aunt and family in Baltimore. My Aunt is Jean Wehner and she is one of the strongest people I know. I often cite the marriage between my Uncle Mike and Aunt Jean as one of the strongest marriages I’ve ever seen. You may know her from the Netflix Docuseries The Keepers. It documents the horrendous abuses and cover-ups that took place in the Archdiocese of Baltimore (along with other institutions).
I am angry at the abuses that took place in Catholicism.
I am angry at the cover ups and the shuffles.
I am firmly convinced that many reforms and changes are still needed to make reparations and express true remorse and not just respond to a fear of being sued.
I want to see more of the truth come out and more accountability revealed.
I hate what happened and the systems that allowed those sins and crimes to remain hidden and those perpetrators untouchable.
The Catholic Church’s work in making reparations for these sins still has a long way to go in my opinion. But I still work at a Catholic parish because all of those things were betrayals.
They betrayed the Gospel, they betrayed the Church, they betrayed the vows, they betrayed the mission, they betrayed relationships, they betrayed justice, they betrayed the people, they betrayed my family, they betrayed my aunt, and they even betrayed mercy as they used the confessional to target my aunt.
They were betrayals and that makes me furious. Because I believe that everything and everyone that they betrayed is worth clinging to.
I believe that being a disciple in the Catholic Church is where I am called to be.
I want reform and reparations because I love all that was betrayed.
I support my Aunt in bringing all of this depravity to light because I love her and she was betrayed.
I bring this up because I get the impression that there are many people on social media that feel like they are being pushed into a false dichotomy of supporting racial justice or supporting law enforcement. But I think we can support both causes. I think that if you truly support the values and mission of law enforcement then you would be furious that these sins and scandals betray those values. If you love your law enforcement family member, if you love those who sacrificially put themselves in harm’s way, if you love your neighbor, especially your black neighbor, then you would be furious that these sins and scandals betray all of those people and ideals.
I know I am. My grandfather was a Baltimore City cop, and I love him and what he stood for. And I’m angry that his service was doubly betrayed by law enforcement involvement in the abuse of my aunt and the policies and practices that have led us to where we are today.
Because I love my grandfather, and not in spite of my love for him, I support that we are being brought face to face with policies and practices that have betrayed people of color, good cops, and our trust.
Don’t make your valiant stand against those who have been betrayed.
Stand instead against the betrayal – the abuse of power, the silencing of voices crying out against injustice, and yes, against racism (explicit, implicit, or systematic).