“[Dave Armstrong] Steve Hays is saying today that the very accusation ruins someone's life. Not in Christianity. We are forgivers because that is God's nature. I could just as well argue that King David's reputation was forever ruined because he committed adultery and murder.”
This is a very revealing statement. It helps to explain the mentality which permits Armstrong to remain a Catholic.
Armstrong’s position bears a startling resemblance to the attitude of Cardinal Law. As long as a predatory priest confesses his sin, then he receives absolution, and he can continue to work with young people.
But what that clearly overlooks, among other things, is that even if the sexual predatory is genuinely contrite, that does nothing to change his impulses. It’s possible for someone to feel genuine remorse about doing the wrong thing, but go right on doing it. Every time he does it, he feels guilty. Yet he does it again and again. Contrition and absolution do nothing to remove homosexual lust. Or penance.
For example, I think it’s pretty commonplace for folks with addictions to hate their addictions, or even hate themselves, yet that doesn’t prevent them from doing the same thing next time.
If a man has a strong sexual attraction to teenage boys, then he shouldn’t be ministering to teenage boys. What could be more obvious?
If a man’s a compulsive gambler, would you first forgive him and then put him right back in the casino?
But you can tell from Armstrong’s attitude that if he were the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston, he’d do exactly what Bernard Law was doing. And that’s because he shares the same twisted mindset. As long as a predatory priest fesses up in the privacy of the confessional, then it’s time to forgive and forget. At most we reassign him to another parish. He may be a repeat offender, but he’s been forgiven.
Finally, the comparison with King David is a very ill-considered example to illustrate Armstrong’s point. It’s not as though God simply forgave David and wiped the slate clean, like nothing ever happened. To the contrary, God made David suffer punitive consequences for his sin:
“Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.' Thus says the LORD, 'Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.'…Because by this deed you have utterly scorned the LORD, the child who is born to you shall die” (2 Sam 12:10-12,14.