Sherry Antonetti is a freelance writer, blogger and published author of The Book of Helen. She lives just outside of Washington, DC with her husband and their ten children.
By now, everyone knows the hashtag #metoo indicates that someone, at some point, harassed or abused the person raising a virtual hand. It's one thing to state to the world, I've been hurt. It takes strength. It takes nerve. It’s good to for all of us to know the scope of this scourge as a matter of justice.
However, while it’s important for us to know there are victims, it's quite another to be willing to admit that I've done the hurting.
When we experience the passion at Mass during Holy Week and we all say, “Crucify Him,” we are conceding the reality of our fallen state, of being the ones who did the hurting. Christ is on the cross because we've partaken in the hurting.
We've scourged someone else with our words, with our thoughts, with our indifference to suffering, with our glorying in suffering, with our declaring such suffering is legal and therefore just, or such suffering is just and therefore moral. That someone we scourge is always both the individual and Christ in disguise.
It took dark creativity to create the whip with bits of bone to rip away at flesh. It took dark joy in violence to allow for punishment that included the flaying of flesh. It took cowardice to refuse to speak up for those being hurt, or to refuse to use the weapon, or to refuse to pronounce the sentence. It took a perverse combination of willful ignorance and pride to presume that whoever is being scourged deserves it—that the one receiving the scourge somehow merited it.
Saying “me too” in the current campaign, if one feels one can acknowledge such an event as a victim, is important for highlighting something we should all know: the abuse of anyone, sexual or otherwise, is always and everywhere wrong. Saying “It’s my fault, my fault, my grievous fault” before the cross as one who put Christ there, as one who required God to bleed and die for each of us, requires true humility and no small amount of courage. Not because God will punish us, but because we know, if it were us who had been wronged, the first reaction to someone admitting they've been the source of pain, is a cry for an ounce of flesh back. Absent grace, we’ll demand a return volley of the scourge, and feel justified in saying, "Crucify him."
God's reaction to us is to outstretch his arms and grant our request.