The plague of molestation and cover-up in the Orthodox community is one of those circumstances. If you have not yet read some of Rav Yaakov Horowitz’s pieces, read them and cringe. His courageous writing is getting progressively more defined, more pained, more desperate. (Quite independently of each other, two friends of mine related what they had heard from highly regarded workers in the Orthodox world. One spoke in Israel, one in the US. Each said that in his own substantial experience, molestation was the single greatest contributor to going off the derech.) He is not afraid to name names, and to harshly criticize those who wish everything hushed-up and not openly discussed.
Add to this the recent debacle in which Rabbi Dr Benzion Twerski abruptly stepped down from a task force on molestation formed by Assemblyman Dov Hikind. Dr Twerski cited unbearable threats and intimidation, although from ordinary people, not by the kano’im/askanim as originally reported. This means that the source of the problem is not just a bunch of terrorists with beards, but serious misinformation and misguided priorities among amchah.
Most of us, then, are left precisely where the Pope was in World War II. We sit back as life after life is shattered. We are not indifferent or callous. We are concerned, and very human. But we do nothing – much less than the Pope did. For not stepping forward with the courage, the selfless heroism we expect from a moral leader, we continue to criticize him.
A famous picture of Pius has him standing, extending his arm, and pointing. The photo has been used to criticize him for his presumed silence regarding the Holocaust. Perhaps we should give some thought as to whether the finger, in retrospect, is pointing at all of us.