"The elders... suppressed their consciences"
They suppressed their consciences;
they would not allow their eyes to look to heaven,
and did not keep in mind just judgments.
They proceed to attempt forcing themselves on a young person.
There is horrifying resonance for this in today’s news, for the Greek word used for “elder” is the same word which the Church uses as the technical term for ministerial priests.
Just this past weekend, the Holy Father released a Pastoral Letter regarding the terrible crimes of sexual abuse committed by priests.
That letter and today’s first reading remind us of how even the learned and respected among us – even religious ones – can have dangerous faults. We must protect society and most especially protect children and the helpless against such faults and against predators of all kinds.
But we cannot take this reading only as a warning against wickedness in high places.
Any of us can give in to temptation, as did the elders, or be swept along to error, as did the crowd.
May God give us the grace that He gave to Daniel: the grace to see and think clearly and to act bravely and well.