Friday, December 21, 2018

A complete, total, utter lack of credibility

That's my reaction to the Pope's latest call to Catholic priests who've been guilty of immoral sexual conduct.

Pope Francis on Friday capped a year of sex-abuse scandals in the Catholic Church by vowing to “do all that is necessary” to punish abusers for their “abominations” and urging the guilty to turn themselves in.

“To those who abuse minors, I would say this: convert and hand yourself over to human justice, and prepare for divine justice,” the pope told Vatican officials.

. . .

In his speech, the pope noted that he has called a Vatican summit of bishops from around the world to discuss the abuse crisis over four days in February. The bishops will consult with experts on “how best to protect children, to avoid these tragedies, to bring healing and restoration to victims, and to improve the training imparted in seminaries.”

. . .

On Friday, he denounced clerics who “hide behind good intentions in order to stab their brothers and sisters in the back and to sow weeds, division and bewilderment,” comparing such people to Judas, the betrayer of Jesus.

There's more at the link.

I suppose I'd be one of those the Pope referred to in the final paragraph above.  I'm sure he, and other Catholic Church authority figures, would regard me as an "uppity priest", who refused to shut up and play ball, to "get with the program", and present a united front to the world in response to the furore over clergy child sex abuse.  Unfortunately for them, I don't agree, and I refuse to be silenced.  I'm not some naive cradle Catholic who went from home, to school, to seminary, to priesthood, and never learned anything about life, the universe, or whatever.  I learned from the university of life long before I became a priest, and what I saw "on the inside" of the Church during the unfolding of this crisis outraged me.  It still does.

The Catholic Church, collectively, has effectively done nothing whatsoever, in real, constructive, meaningful terms, to address this crisis.  Every step has been pious window-dressing, designed to portray the Church in the most favorable light - indeed, as the victim of vicious anti-Catholic sentiment - rather than admit that she's failed her members for many decades.  The cover-ups continue to this day.  Consider these US headlines from the past week alone:

I know at first hand just how far the Catholic Church has been willing to go to silence dissenters within the ranks of the clergy.  (I was one of them, after all.)  Pensions have been threatened;  priests have been warned they'd be evicted from their retirement homes if they didn't toe the official line;  pastors who objected to being ordered to lie to their congregations have been transferred to minor, out-of-the-way churches, where they've been left to rot in obscurity.  In my case, when I applied for laicization over the issue, to my utter incredulity, I was informed that the officials responsible were "terrified" to submit my application to Rome, because they "dared not" allow a priest to cite the Church's deliberate lies as the reason for requesting laicization.  Difficulties with celibacy they could handle easily, but a refusal to compromise over the truth - that was absolutely beyond the pale, because it would reflect on them and on their diocese in the eyes of Rome.  The results of their cowardice and mendacity have affected me to this day.  On the other hand, I didn't sacrifice my integrity.  That means something, to me at least.

Therefore, the latest call by Pope Francis leaves me cold.  The Church has done nothing to force the issue with its priests over the years.  This latest appeal doesn't force it, either.  Offenders are expected to "out" themselves.  After overwhelming evidence that offenders have no interest in or intention of doing that, concealing their offenses for decades, accepting promotions and episcopal ordination in the process . . . what makes the Pope think his appeal will make any difference?  It's just more pious window-dressing, intended to sound good to the faithful, but in practice achieving absolutely nothing.

Meanwhile, the millions of Catholics who've left the Church over this scandal still wonder what happened to it, and who took it away and hid it, and left a whitewashed tomb in its place.  The priests who objected to the "official line", and were punished for it, have never received so much as an apology, let alone any form of redress, even though history has proven them correct.  It's quite obvious that nobody in authority cares about the stand they took, except to dismiss them as irritating fleas trying to bite the body of Christ.

May almighty God have mercy on us.



Old NFO said...

This is getting ugly, and stupid... Stupid on the part of the hierarchy!

WL Emery said...

The results of their cowardice and mendacity have affected me to this day. On the other hand, I didn't sacrifice my integrity. That means something, to me at least.

That you refused to violate the Lord's Word, along with your own personal integrity, means everything - especially to the people who know you, speak to you, and read your site.

You were put into an incredibly difficult position. You did the right thing.

We only know of the incidents in the U.S. that are reported by the commercial news media. I can't imagine just how much of the iceberg we're seeing, but I'm betting it's the tip, and that's just in the U.S. Just imagine what's happening in some foreign countries where the Catholic Church is much more influential.

I'm glad to see you kick this particular rock aside - no matter what or who we find under it.

Dad29 said...

what makes the Pope think his appeal will make any difference?

What makes you think that this "call" is serious on Francis' part?

We disagree over a few things and I won't go over that again. But about this we DO agree: the response(s) have been pathetic, weak, stupid, and completely off-putting.

However, I don't think Francis is the man for the season.

Tom Kratman said...

I would, of course, never wish that His Holiness should come to harm. I do, however, believe that the world and Holy Mother Church, both, will be a lot better off when God calls the son of a bitch home to his final reward.

Ray - SoCal said...

It’s just cya and posturing to stop the current focus on the horrible behavior by the lavender mafia.

I was at a huge palace / monastery / school in Australia. And it only has 23 monks, and half were over 60.

HMS Defiant said...

I suspect that in the beginning the upper church feared they would run out of priests to service the churches and lo, they have started to understand at last their policy then and since then has run them out of believers. Surprised they didn't see that coming.

PapaMAS said...

Keep fighting the good fight, Peter. As for me, I will never return to the church as it has proven itself irredeemably corrupt. The fools that run it either have no conception of the damage they themselves are causing, or they do and it is what they want.

Tempest01 said...

New Norcia in Western Australia?

milton f said...

Thanks for what you have done, and for exhibiting such integrity.

It appears to me that actions taken by the church have been successful at the parish level. Unfortunately, they have only focused on the priests. Exempting the bishops and hierarchy is where the focus needs to be. I am convinced that many (most?) of the sodomists are above the priest level, and the only fix is for each and every Catholic to come forward and tell all that they know. The laity included. The laity must support every truth telling priest, and pray and protect them.

Bless you and Merry Christmas. Peace.