A 3-year-old grandson of the writer was excited playing with the bathroom faucets. He called to his grandfather to come and join the fun. He slipped and hit his face on the wet floor and started to cry. "I knew this would happen" he blurted out between sobs.
Apparently, he was repeating the words of his mother when he behaved as he shouldn't. Why did he do it? But isn't this true of all of us? Why do we do what we shouldn't. It's true of his grandfather, inspectors, poets, actors, teachers, priests, human right's activists, pastors, politician....
The #Me Too movement continues and is shaking the whole country. Names are mentioned as perpetrators but it's safe to say that all of us males are perpetrators.
The writer in an article in the Catholic Times brings again to the attention of the readers this movement in Korea which has even seen the suicide death of a famous actor after being accused of sexual harassment. Of course, harassment can be grave or slight but the news reports often don't make the distinction and the possibility is always present that a person becomes a social outcast for an impropriety that may not warrant the penalty that society imposes.
The article in the Catholic Times mentions that we should not be seeing people as means but as ends. The movement is doing a great deal of good but the danger is always present that what should be a matter for a criminal investigation and tried in a court of law is tried in the court of public opinion with public ostracism.
The words of Confucius come to mind: hate the sin but not the sinner. Obviously very hard to do in practice. We know the incident in the Scripture where Jesus does not respond to an angry crowd who want to stone a woman caught in adultery. He writes silently on the ground and tells the innocent ones to be the first to cast the stones. They all walk away. "I do not condemn you, go and sin no more."
Korea is a patriarchal society and this movement should be a help in changing the culture, which has considered women as the object of a man's sexual gratification. The writer sympathizes with the feelings of the women but hopes they will not bury all the perpetrators with criticism and hatred and forget the need for forgiveness and when necessary the legal procedures opened to judge wrongs done. He concludes the article with the judgment that it's
difficult to criticize without hating.
These last days of Lent give us many things to think about and not the least is the lesson from the washing of the feet at the celebration of the Mass on Holy Thursday.