Picture of a Black Hole
by Lori Heine

Astronomers have given us the first picture ever of a black hole. Even that is not a direct image, but a shadow of a shadow. About all we still know about black holes is that we know very little.

Evil is like that. There are many people who don’t believe evil exists. Of those who accept its existence, a large number think it’s merely the absence of good. But when we experience it directly, we recognize that it is a very real entity, in and of itself.

When it’s visible, all we see of evil is a shadow. We can never look it directly in the face. Even the most depraved evidences of it, like the Holocaust, show us only its effects.

Because it’s so mysterious and elusive, evil is often trivialized. LGBTQ people know this, because the label is so often thrown at us. Anything that falls into a black hole will be destroyed. We must no longer allow this to happen to us.

Though a black hole is a rip in the time-space continuum, and seems like nothing, it is undeniably something immense. It can devour entire galaxies. Evil is like that. It’s easy to trivialize evil as the mere absence of good when it’s happening to someone else. To remind ourselves that it exists in its own right, we must keep a picture of it close at hand.

We are still being dehumanized by those who don’t understand us, or who profit somehow from our degradation. That is often done in the name of good. But a black hole is a definite thing--it can’t merely be made into whatever someone wants it to be. What’s being done to us is evil.

We’re being blamed for the Roman Catholic Church’s pedophilia scandal. It isn’t the whole Church that’s doing this, only portions of the hierarchy. But it’s evil--and an attempt to deflect the punishment due for the evil of child rape. We’re being pushed into a black hole.

Will our persecutors get away with this? The good news is that no, they won’t. Every study and survey shows that the people in the Roman Catholic pews are the most accepting in any Christian body. Love alone can defeat hate, and knowledge can overcome ignorance.

What the guilty priests and bishops have done has been to prey upon innocent children. No one made them do this; they chose to do it all on their own. “Homosexuals” did not cause this problem. Not all of the victims, by any means, were boys. Nor did the abusive clergymen victimize only heterosexual children.

This is more than a deflection of responsibility for hideous crimes. It’s an attempt to drive all LGBTQ people out of the Catholic Church. It erodes the confidence of the faithful in the pews at the very time when that confidence has become a precious and rare commodity. It’s more crucial than ever that Catholics recognize this campaign of hate for what it really is. The Church will survive, just as it has for twenty-one centuries, because it ultimately rests not in the hands of men, but the hands of God.

Evil can be recognized as what it is. Even if all that’s visible is a shadow of a shadow. Catholics have seen a picture of a black hole. Now they know what evil looks like.


© 2019 Lori Heine

Photo: The first image of a black hole at the center of the Messier 87 galaxy published April 10, 2019.

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