Holiness, Insight, and Evil

We've all read the accounts of the latest wave of the sex abuse crisis. They are discouragingly familiar. This account, however, raised a new question with me. Does holiness give insight into another's character?Apparently, Donald McGuire was Mother Teresa's spiritual director. Spiritual Director! No wonder she had a dark night of the soul. Moreover, she placed him in charge of the retreat direction of members of her order worldwide!It also appears that Pope John Paul II--now on the path to sainthood--was completely taken in--duped--by Father Maciel; in my view, an evil man if there ever was one.Does closeness to God give one any special insight into the character of others? Or not?Or am I looking at the problem in the wrong way? I've heard it said (on TV so it must be right!) that psychopaths such as serial killers are able to short-circuit the built-in warning systems that people have about danger from others. Is that the problem here?

Cathleen Kaveny is the Darald and Juliet Libby Professor in the Theology Department and Law School at Boston College.

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