Tim, many people who post comments on this site have been dealt with in an outrageous fashion by clergy and officials in the Church. To this day “the Church” refuses to purge the priesthood of all known molesters and, indeed, the recycling continues to this day. Please bear that in mind when someone vents. Neither you nor I know the background of those who blow off steam, or point fingers. We do not know why someone is angry with the Church and her officials. In many instances, unfortunately, people have been hurt, or deceived or betrayed and have good reason to be angry.
Larry Green, you made comments which triggered Tim’s response. You made comments with which I don’t necessarily agree. I personally was not offended. Saddened yes, but, offended, no. Not at all. I can see that you are deeply concerned about the sex absue scandal in the Church. I wish that more were as concerned and anxious as you to bring it to an end.
Tim, when I read your comments to Larry Green I was reminded that many Roman Catholics do not understand the devastating impact which clerical sexual abuse has had on Roman Catholics, and the anger and/or pain which the abysmal response and cover-up by Church officials has triggered.
I forget at times that I have been talking to victims and their families, researching and sitting in courtrooms for years. In those years I have heard a lot of disparaging comments made about “the Church,” and about bishops, and about the Pope. The comments invariably came from those who had, in some fashion, been seriously hurt by the sex abuse scandal directly or indirectly. So, I have learned and am well aware that that there is anger out there. It doesn’t upset me. I get angry myself. I have been annoyed on many occasions by the actions or non-actions of Church officials. Ditto those of the Holy Father. That in no way negates the love I have for my Church.
I think that all Catholics must bear in mind that in this day and age there are many who strike out at the Church because of the clerical sexual abuse crisis and cover-up. Most victims who have been abused by priests view all priests in a negative light. They see priests through the eyes of the child who was molested by the man of God, the priest who, in the eyes of that same child, is closer to God than any human being on earth, i.e., during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the priest says the words of consecration and Christ becomes present on the altar, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, and, in confession the priest says the words of absolution and sins are forgiven.
How then is a young boy who was molested by a priest to understand the priesthood and his faith? What does it do to the child’s faith to see his molester in the sanctuary uttering the words of consecration? How is a victim to respond when he/she learns that Church officilas view his/her sexual abuse as so inconsquential that they are willing to place children at risk of suffering the same fate?
The harm inflcited upon the victim is compounded in those all too frequent instances wherein Church authorities deny that such abuse has transpired and overtly or covertly categorize the victim as a liar. It is further compounded in those instances wherein victims later learn that Church officials lied to them.
Family and friends of victims are affected by the abuse in similar fashion.
Parishioners are affected when they discover that the priest in the sanctuary is a known child molester. In those instances it is difficult for many to acknowledge that they were wilfully deceived by their bishop and that children were wilfully placed at risk.
I believe therefore that it is incumbent on Catholics in this day and age to bear in mind that many Catholics who no longer practise their faith have essentially been driven about by the sex abuse scandal. I have no idea where Larry Green fits into the equation, but I do believe that belittling his faith serves no good end.
In light of all that, and in light media reports of bishops advocating for married priests and others advocating women’s ordination and a reversal of the Church’s stance on homosexuality, I think it is time for me clarify where I stand on a few issues – not to open them up to debate, but just so those who don’t know me will know where I stand.
In point format and a little at random:
- I am a convert to Catholicism.
- I am not a proponent of homosexual activity or same-sex marriage. I was not a proponent of either before I became Catholic.
- I do not support the ordination of women. My experience and research tell me that those women who lobby for women’s ordination are intent on creating a new church which bears no resemblance to the Roman Catholic Church in structure, moral teachings or liturgy.
- As I said, I am a convert. As a child I was raised non-Catholic amidst anti-Catholic rhetoric. I realized in later years that the rhetoric was on the whole not based on knowledge of the Church and her teachings. To the contrary. The long and short there is that I have been on both the hurling and receiving end of anti-Catholicism. Having been on the other side I understand that many people are anti-Catholic through ignorance.
- I did not become Catholic until I believed in and embraced the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. I believed it would have been hypocritical of me to do otherwise. When I was ready to convert, I did not for a moment think that I should stay in a non-Catholic church with the intent of making it conform to my belief in how God wants me to live my life on this earth with the object of spending eternity with Him in the next.
- Church teaching on homosexuality and women’s ordination will not change. I do not understand why those who stridently advocate for both remain in the Church. There are many Christian churches which have female priests/ministers and as many which advocate for homosexuality and same sex marriage.
- Most Catholics who advocate homosexuality, same-sex marriage and women’s ordination also advocate the abolition of priestly celibacy.
- Men who enter the seminary know that they will not be allowed to marry if they pursue the priesthood as a vocation. They are ordained knowing that can not marry. They are also, for that matter, ordained knowing that they are expected to live a chaste life.
- For a priest to cry the blues that he can not marry is akin to a married man bewailing the fact that he has a yen for the attractive secretary but is bound by his marriage vows.
- It might surprise many to know that the very bishops who have tolerated clerical molesters and/or recycled them over the past fifty years are those who simultaneously (1) overtly or covertly allowed the homosexual agenda to infiltrate the Catholic Church and (2) overtly or covertly champion women’s ordination and (3) overtly or covertly advocate the abolition of priestly celibacy.
- I can speak to the situation in Canada where I know that the large majority of our bishops twiddled their collective thumbs while “sexual orientation” legislation was being pushed through parliament. Many if not all remained silent while priest professors advocating the homosexual agenda taught future priests at various Canadian seminaries. Many if not all endorsed sex ed programs and AIDS ed programs which blatantly undermine the moral teachings of the Church regarding homosexuality.
- I have friends who are homosexual. They know where I stand. I love them dearly, but I do not and can not condone their lifestyle.
- I fail to see how endorsing homosexuality will eradicate clerical sexual abusers. A homosexual priest is as capable as a heterosexual priest of molesting a child.
- I think it is most unfortunate that those who advocate homosexual activity, same-sex marriage, women’s ordination and the abolition of priestly celibacy use the clerical sexual abuse scandal to try to advance their cause. I see that as the politicization of clerical sexual abuse.
- I fail to see how the ordination of women will eradicate clerical sexual molesters. Nuns are female – their presence in the past failed to prevent priests bent on molesting from molesting. And, lest we forget, there are female molesters. Indeed, there are horrendous stories of nuns who molested children.
- I fail to see how the eradication of priestly celibacy will eradicate clerical sexual abuse. There are countless cases of married men who molest. There are also countless cases of men who are not Roman Catholic priests and therefore not bound by celibacy who molest.
- It is small wonder that there is mass confusion on these matters. Our shepherds have failed to lead and, with very rare exception, have failed to reprimand those who publicly dissent from Church teaching. I remind all yet again that these are the same shepherds who failed to hold predatory priests accountable for their sins and crimes and boldly recycled them from parish to parish and/or diocese to diocese. They are the same shepherds who turned a blind eye to the plight of the victim and wilfully placed children at risk.
I could go on, but, I think enough said. I don’t want to open the floor to discussion on these issues – to do so would, I fear, divert from the issue of clerical sexual abuse. I believe that it is a red herring to infer that women’s ordination, abolition of priestly celibacy and condoning of homosexuality will in any way shape or form stop priests from molesting, and/or stop the cover-ups, and/or stop recycling of molesters, and/or lead to the laicization of known molesters.
Enough for now,