Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Vanity of Erasing the Past: Someone Has to Pay

The tragic case of William Lynch, who lynched with his own fists the predatory priest who abused him and his little brother, illustrates the confusion and the perversion of grievance and victimhood which are dominating this country's policies and political views.

The young boy turned troubled man simply could not forget what the terrible priest, now retired in hiding, had done to him.

"William Lynch, 45, is accused of tracking down Father Jerold Lindner on May 10, 2010, and assaulting him at his Jesuit retirement home. Witnesses testified during the preliminary hearing that Lynch had punched and kicked the elderly priest, yelling: "'You ruined my life. Turn yourself in. You molested me.'" (http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jun/21/local/la-me-0621-priest-beating-20120621)

"You ruined my life. Turn yourself in. You molested me." Harsh indictments, to say the least. Yet the dangers of past victims taking present matters into their own hands to avenge themselves would open up our world to a chaos of vigilante justice, in which hardships and wrongdoings would never be resolved. How many priests have been falsely accused? How many individuals have been induced through corrupt and immoral psychological suggestion that they were abused, when in truth nothing had happened. The fabled Satanic rituals of 1980's Kern County should be more than enough to press the public to  reserve judgment to a trial of fact.

Nevertheless, even if we assume that Father Jerold Lindner did indeed practice those perversions against young William and his little brother, I cannot accept the vicious charge that the older William leveled against the aged priest in hiding.

After the crime is perpetrated, though, the victim deserves a sense of "resolution", that someone paid for the perversion perpetrated against him or her. Indeed, someone has to pay. William's rage is understandable, but to beat a man to a bloody pulp has only harmed him.

I for one do not believe for one minute that Father Jerold has gotten away with anything. Any man or woman who harms a child in so outrageous a manner cannot appease an evil conscience by trying to forget or justify his shame.

Studies have shown that over-indulgent parents harm their children not just because they fail to instill boundaries  in their kids, but because children, like all people, will unconsciously punish themselves if they are not disciplined. Think of Lady MacBeth in the Scottish play. "Out, damned spot, out!" Lady MacBeth would berate herself, trying to wipe away the blood of King Duncan, whose murder she pressed upon her weak and ambitious husband.

Yet for all of our guilt and condemnation, the shame does not go away. Even if we have been harmed or beaten, we simply cannot break ourselves free from what has been done to us, or what other people have suffered because of what we have done to them.

Someone has to pay! William Lynch wnated the wicked priest to pay, yet now the man, harmed as a child, has harmed himself even more. What a tragedy -- and someone still has to pay. . .

No comments:

Post a Comment