I can’t call this a blog about Catholicism without saying something about the suffering being endured right now by the Bride of Christ, that is the holy Church, and all of her faithful, because of horrific sins we now know have for decades been committed and covered up or ignored by a sickening number of priests, bishops, and even cardinals and popes. The Church is suffering from the betrayal of so many innocent souls by these men whom we had every reason to trust.
I’ve been seeing a lot of comments on social media criticizing Catholics who have publicly expressed anger and outrage at this situation, claiming that such anger is not Christian and is a sin. These comments forget or ignore the fact that our Lord Himself showed a great deal of anger when he ran the money-changers out of the temple. Matthew 21:12-13. Anger based on improper motives is, in fact, a mortal sin. But, anger based on protection of the good, the true and the beautiful is not sinful, but righteous. This distinction is often lost by many people, frequently the same people who preach about mercy but forget its inseparable partner, justice.
So yes, I am angry.
I am angry at the men who were given the incredible grace of Holy Orders as priests or even bishops, and some who were even made “princes of the Church” and raised to the College of Cardinals, but who used their positions to feed their own disordered lust, inflicting serious and often permanent damage on their victims, the overwhelming majority of whom were adolescent boys and young men. These men have in effect raped the Bride of Christ, the Church, betraying her as well as all the faithful by their gross misuse of their ordination. And yes, they have cost, and will cost, the institutional Church gigantic sums of money that will be used to pay settlements to victims and pay off their lawyers, money that was given by faithful Catholics for the good of the Church and her mission, not to be used as reparation for clerical sins.
I am extremely angry at the priests, bishops and cardinals who condoned, ignored or covered up such actions by others, and many of whom even today, in the face of overwhelming evidence, have yet to speak out in truth against these destroyers of lives, of faith, and of trust. This aspect of my anger applies especially to the bishops of the United States, who assured us after the homosexual abuse scandal first broke in 2002 that they had done what was needed to address the problem. (Remember who the bishops’ spokesman was back then? Some Cardinal named McCarrick?) Turns out that was baloney then, and it’s baloney now. The few U.S. bishops who have spoken out frankly and clearly on this crisis are, unfortunately, the exceptions who prove the rule.
I am angry that so many of the victims of these monsters have lost their faith and walked away from the one and only path to salvation. I can’t blame them, but I weep for them and for the fate of their endangered souls. I pray that the Holy Spirit will come into the hearts of these innocent victims and bring them back to the Church, the holy institution established by Christ, in spite of the fallen men who occupy the worldly positions of power in the Church, and who drove them away by their abuse.
I am angry that this grotesque malfeasance on the part of so many has, once again, subjected my One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church to worldwide calumny and disdain, setting her up as an easy target for all her enemies, who are legion. Our Lord told us, of course, that the Church would always be hated by the world, but do our own supposed shepherds have to do such an effective job of facilitating that hatred?
I am angry at those who, even while expressing appropriate anger at the perpetrators and compassion for the victims, continue to ignore or deny the obvious fact that, at its core, this crisis is primarily the work of homosexuals and homosexualists in the ranks of the Church hierarchy. For example, there is nothing in the summary of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report on this point, even though a study of the actual report makes clear that, as was the case in the 2002 scandals, at least 80% of the victims were post-pubescent boys or young men. That Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro would ignore this fact is, while highly unfortunate, perhaps understandable, since he is a Democrat politician who actively panders to the inordinately powerful “LGBT” lobby…
…but it is less understandable, and in fact a sinful travesty, that so many Catholic clergy flout the ancient, Divinely-revealed teaching of the Church on the disordered nature of homosexual acts, a sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance, cf. Genesis 18:20-21, and try to direct attention away from the facts. No one, to my knowledge at least, is claiming that all “gay” clergy are sexual abusers, but the fact is that all but a very few of the sexual abusers are “gay.” To deny this is merely to continue the lies perpetrated by the criminals and their enablers from the beginning.
I am not smart or knowledgeable enough to determine the ultimate cause of this tribulation we now are undergoing. If I had to make an educated guess, I’d say that a great deal of the blame needs to be placed on the general loss of the sense of sin among the clergy, and thus also among the faithful who depend on the clergy for sound catechesis. This sets up a domino effect that is gravely dangerous to our salvation. Once the sense of sin is lost, the meaning of the Cross and the Resurrection becomes obscured, and the nature and importance of the Sacraments also loses clarity. When that happens, the need for a holy and pure Church ministered by holy and pure priests seems to disappear as well. Hey, the priesthood is just a job, right? Priests are men, too, and they need sexual release, right? It’s just an appetite like eating or sleeping, isn’t it? I’ve heard such atrocious fallacies spoken with a straight face by people who claim to be Catholic, and I’ll venture to say no one calling themselves Catholic would have dreamed of saying such things 100 or even 50 years ago.
These words of Pope Pius XII, of happy memory, spoken way back in 1946 to the National Catechetical Congress of the United States, via radio from Rome, have a prophetic ring today:
Perhaps the greatest sin in the world today is that men have begun to lose the sense of sin. Smother that, deaden it — it can hardly be wholly cut out from the heart of man — let it not be awakened by any glimpse of the God-man dying on Golgotha’s cross to pay the penalty of sin, and what is there to hold back the hordes of God’s enemy from over-running the selfishness, the pride, the sensuality and unlawful ambitions of sinful man? Will mere human legislation suffice? Or compacts and treaties? In the Sermon on the Mount the divine Redeemer has illumined the path that leads to the Father’s will and eternal life; but from Golgotha’s gibbet flows the full and steady stream of graces, of strength and courage, that alone enable man to walk that path with firm and unerring step.
Those graces are channelled to your souls through the Church. Christ’s work was not wholly accomplished at his death. In one sense it was only beginning. He has finished, finished perfectly the work assigned him by the Father to do in his mortal body. But He would live on to ensure that his beloved creatures should profit by the redemption He had wrought. And so He told his disciples that He was going to build a church; its foundation, the basis of its strength and unity, would be one of them, Peter. Impregnable against the powers of evil, imperturbable amid the crash of mere human institutions, deriving always its comprehensiveness and its oneness from him who in an unbroken, continuous line would be the successor of the first Christ-Vicar, it was to carry on until time and space are no more, until the book of human history is closed. He gave it the divine mandate to go forth and to teach all men of all nations. It would be the pillar and mainstay of the truth. It would be the holy mother imparting to her children a life of faith and sanctity which is the pledge of everlasting life. It would be his beloved spouse, for whom he delivered himself up, that He might sanctify her… that she might be holy and without blemish (Eph. 5, 26 ff.).
What, then, are the faithful to do? One thing we all can do is to turn back to our heritage of prayer, fasting and devotion to make reparation for the horrible sins men have committed under color of ordained ministry. The exhortations of Bishop Morlino of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin seem appropriate:
I ask everyone reading this to pray. Pray earnestly for the Church and all her ministers. Pray for our seminarians. And pray for yourselves and your families. We must all work daily on our own personal holiness and hold ourselves accountable first and, in turn, hold our brothers and sisters accountable as well, and
Finally, I ask you all to join me and the entire clergy of the Diocese of Madison in making public and private acts of reparation to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for all the sins of sexual depravity committed by members of the clergy and episcopacy. … In addition, I ask that all priests, clergy, religious, and diocesan employees join me in observing the upcoming Autumn Ember Days (Sep. 19, 21, and 22) as days of fasting and abstinence in reparation for the sins and outrages committed by members of the clergy and episcopacy and I invite all the faithful to do the same. Some sins, like some demons, can only be driven out by prayer and fasting. …
More than anything else, we as a Church must cease our acceptance of sin and evil. We must cast out sin from our own lives and run toward holiness. We must refuse to be silent in the face of sin and evil in our families and communities and we must demand from our pastors – myself included –that they themselves are striving day in and day out for holiness. We must do this always with loving respect for individuals but with a clear understanding that true love can never exist without truth. …
I can’t say it any better. God bless Bishop Morlino and God bless all here.
Laudamus Te, Jesus Christus!