A priest acknowledged Thursday that he used to go naked in saunas with Mark Foley decades ago when the former congressman was a boy in Florida, but denied that the two had sex.
One of the hardest things about abuse is the way it’s passed down, one victim to another, so that you can trace it back to the original person who first thought it was a good idea to punch or rape a child, and all the crimes that spread outward from there.
Foley was never not an object of pity, not to me, anyway, even before I knew about the priest. Nobody targets children who doesn’t have something haywire in his head, who doesn’t clearly need all kinds of help. But reasons are not excuses, and what happened to Foley as a child did not give him leave to do that to another child. Not every abused person becomes his abuser, and some people are strong enough toseek help rather than continue the chain of hurt into another generation.
Pity doesn’t extend to those who should have recognized Foley’s behavior and prevented it from going as far as it did. Pity is not absolution, and it doesn’t extend to allowing Foley some kind of free pass. Nobody gets that who does what he did. Reasons are not excuses, and committing the same crime as was committed against you just makes you the same kind of criminal.