When, years back and year over year, you've been repeatedly sexually abused by that priest, when you've suffered long-term related depression, tried suicide numbers of times, and have been given $650,000 by that priest's hush-minded guilty Church in a deal that, long ago, was supposed to shut you up.
Despite William Lynch's court admission, a California jury last week found him not guilty of any crime in the 2010 thrashing of Father Jerry Lindner in retaliation for years of molestation.
While prosecutors called Mr. Lynch's pounding of his former priest in a Jesuit retirement home a vigilante's act, jurors saw past that. They appear to have acknowledged that taking law into one's own fists, while not an optimal legal model, there may be circumstances in which payback, even hard to the face of an older man may be, if not an unblemished exercise in Justice, understandable.
What no one jury can do, of course, is to exact punishment in full measure on the so many men who have, on the institution that has, continually subborned the behavior of the tens of thousands of Father Lindners. That jury may well have acted as it did because the Church, complicit with too many secular authorities, largely skirts by with only scratches to its outsized corporate ego, only dents to its budget, and only minimal damage to its global secular and religious power, too often a power used to excuse harm to the weakest among us.
"What you do to the least of us
you do to me."
-- First-Century Galilean Rabbi as reported in Gsp. Matt. 25:40
Rev. Lindner (in '74) and Mr. Lynch (today)