This was a great video on the McCarrick abuse.
As usual, and not surprising to me, satan is trying to drag souls away from the Church, and he’s using our priests, bishops, and cardinals to do it. While this might shock some, it does not shock me. It’s been foretold, if you listened to the readings from a couple of Sundays ago. It’s happened before and it will happen again. Satan’s gonna do what satan’s gonna do, and some humans (priests included) are going to swallow the bait. It’s our history and our future. I mean, hello, it’s was Christ’s own apostle that betrayed Him. Think we’ll fair better? I, however, am not going to let this lead me away from the Church. That’s satan’s end game and I’m not going to play.
First, I’d like to say to those abused, I am truly sorry. I don’t want the rest of this post to feel like you are forgotten. You certainly are the victims with the biggest crosses to bear. Please don’t think because I’m addressing the other victims that I am trivializing what you have gone through. If you were one of those who shined a light on these creeps, thank you. You never know whose child you may have saved from that because of your courage. If you have been abused and have not reported it, I understand. Please know that while the hierarchy have behaved badly in their handling of this mess, the shame is not yours in any way. I hope you will report it to help in your own healing and to, again, help keep others from the same fate. Go from victim to hero by outing all of these evil, damaged people. I also beg all of you to not let this destroy your faith in the Catholic Church because of those acting as the agents of satan. See it for what it is. They are the epitome of the foxes guarding the hen-house. Please don’t let them steal your soul along with the innocence and peace they’ve already taken. Nothing would make the devil happier.
Now, as for the rest of the victims… That would be all of us – the rest of the people in the pews, the good and holy priests, the people who might never come to the Church because of this crud, and the children. How many of us are going to have to prep our kids to be wary of something way beyond their years? It’s just one more of a chunk of their innocence lost to the world around us, even though they were not caught up in actual physical abuse.
We pew sitters are going to suffer for many reasons. We can let it be all about dismay, but it’s so much more than that. As Fr. Hollowell points out, men discerning the priesthood could very well become disheartened. Some of us understand that the stats show our priests are in the minority in the abuser realm, but who wants to have aspersion cast on them and to have people look at them with suspect eyes. That’s not exactly going to help our priest shortage. I’m sure this will also further fan the fires for the ridiculous idea of women in the priesthood or at least the lunacy of feminists will take advantage of the scandal. I cannot fathom the hoops everyone will probably have to go through now to work with children. I’m all for background checks, but I’m reasonably sure many of the future abusers will go through the necessary hoops and still prey upon children. I’ve been fingerprinted, background checked, and had to go through hours of training. While it might help me from being falsely accused, it’s hardly going to thwart those with evil intent. There’s insanity involved and watching videos on not being alone with children probably isn’t going to do much to sway them.
As I’ve pointed out, a lot of the hoops we are going to have to jump through really are to protect us and the good priests from being accused by some disturbed person looking for a paycheck. We know that happens, too, which further victimizes those who are actual abuse victims, besides those falsely accused. This isn’t to minimize true abuse claims. Nothing should stop victims from coming forward, even though the tactics of evil people will be to accuse them of lying. It’s all such a careful orchestration by satan to pit everyone against each other, and it’s been working rather nicely. Again, please try to see it for what it is.
Listen, I know priests who have been falsely accused. It’s brutal. In the current climate, it’s guilty until proven innocent. I know accused priests who have been simply shut out from ministry and are in complete limbo because there’s no way to prove or disprove what happened. I also know priests who have thankfully had witnesses and alibis to combat the lies. They were the lucky ones. Honestly, my priest friends, you have to keep a very well documented life and, quite frankly, be incredibly shrewd. Kids show up at your sacristy door wanting a tour of the part of the church they’ve never seen? Make sure you’ve got a witness or at least record the tour with your smart phone so it can be documented later. Think I’m joking? We had liberal parents who wanted to oust their faithful pastor, so when their kids showed up at the sacristy – either out of curiosity or because they were put up to it – my priest friend was darn lucky there were ladies in the sacristy at the time, because these parents actually called the press to report this pastor “taking kids into the secret room in the church”, if you can believe that. Some people are awful.
I’ve also known priests who did it, plain and simple. Our current and future priests need to be shrewd so it’s extra easy to figure out who is evil and who is not. It would be rather nice to start with a simple act like putting the walls back into the confessional. Those walls weren’t trying to ruin the relationship between the penitent and the priest. The were meant to protect both the penitent and the priest from scandal. One of the newer churches in our area went to the length of putting windows in the confessional door so people could see what was going on. Wouldn’t it just be so much more private just to have separate little rooms?
Of course, priests cannot record confessions and private counseling. Just can’t happen. So, while body cams for priests might seem like a fine solution, I’m pretty sure it would break a few canons. That said, I do have priest friends who document much of their goings on and post on social media when they’re unable to use the “two deep” protocol of having a witness present at all times. They’ve just got to pray that if they are accused, it doesn’t happen to be when they don’t have witnesses and alibis. It’s sad, but that’s the life of a priest these days due the complete mismanagement of all the previous abuse cases. Of course we have a priest shortage! Sigh. Despite that, we’ll hopefully continue to find good and holy men willing to “run into the burning building”, as Fr. Hollowell so eloquently puts it.
And then there are the non-Catholics. This whole scandal makes it much harder to bring them to the Church. We had a wonderful homily this weekend about the scandal where the priest pointed out that, thankfully, the sacraments aren’t dependent on the sanctity of the priest, because they would all fall short somehow. Ever tried to explain that vs. the scandal to those outside (and sometimes inside) the Church? It matters little that abuse takes place at a much higher rate outside the priesthood. That little fact just makes us look callous when we point it out. It should not take place at all inside the Catholic Church for sure, but sadly the world does creep in and influence the very human people who comprise the Church. If you think the Church’s existence is dependent on the sanctity of its members, which church would be the true Church? I get that this scandal has rocked the faith of many inside and outside the Church. I’m sure that Fr. Hollowell has dealt with many, as he has said. That said, I don’t understand why. Even the apostles were imperfect and said so every time they could. Judas ring a bell? It’s biblical. You’d think the protestants would get that, and that the atheists and agnostics would note that those who actually try to follow the teachings of the Catholic Church are scathed by the world at a far less rate. For example, those that follow the teachings on the Church in regards to sex and marriage have a staggeringly low divorce rate. (I’m talking about people who actually try to lead this life. I’m not talking about those who claim Catholicism like a nationality but give little attention or credence to Her teachings.) The same goes for priests who believe the teachings of the Church are correct even if they sin. Their abuse rate, as a group, is going to be much lower. Think about it. It’s going to be rare that we who believe in struggling against temptation are going molest people or have affairs as much as those who think “primacy of conscience” is somehow a pass on sin. People who fear going to hell are going to do what they can to avoid it. Like I said, there will be anomalies. For instance, I knew a seemingly very holy priest who totally abused for many years. Some people are extra good at being evil. Still, with most of the priests I know who have abused, you could see it coming a mile away. Was McCarrick a surprise to people who actually pay attention? Nope. That’s why I’m quite skeptical of Cardinal Farrell saying he was unaware of anything. I mean, geez, even I’d heard rumor of the exploits. He’s either complicit or woefully unaware of, well, just about anything.
So, where do we go from here? We could become dismayed, but I’d prefer you become more vigilant about your kids, yourself, and your faith. Other than confession, I can’t think of a reason my kids need to be alone with a priest where they cannot be seen, and like I said, it would be soooo much more comforting if the walls were put back in the confessional. It’s amazing how good of a counseling session you can have in, say, a restaurant, park, confessional, office with a window, etc., where a bunch of other people can see you. Other than that, a “two deep” scenario fits the bill. (Too bad the Boy Scouts failed on that.) Clearly we cannot count on many of the hierarchy of the Church to take care of our kids, so we need to be vigilant in the faith but cautious about scandal at all times.
Where does the clergy go from here? How about homilies on morality, for a change? You can apologize for abuse all you want from the pulpit, but if you’re not even talking the talk about morality, it’s hard to believe you, yourself, are walking the walk. Yes, it’s not fun to upset the people in the pews, but the fluffy sermons have done little to stop abuse, infidelity, breaking of vows on all parts left and right, etc. Just like the laity shouldn’t let this scandal sway us from the Church, the clergy should not let this scandal and the aspersions cast on the entire priesthood sway them from speaking the truth. For some of you, that probably means starting to speak the truth.
Bishops and cardinals? So many of you are so wonderful, but good luck. Sadly, I think many of you are going to do something like the Obama apology tour instead of speaking boldly. You’re supposed to be our spiritual fathers, act like it. If someone harassed or molested one of my kids, my husband would do a lot more than make promises and apologize. To quote Bonnie Tyler, we need a hero! I hope it’s you but I haven’t seen much of the hero persona lately. Bishop Olson nailed it in his suggestions here. I mean, start talking about millstones and the way the Church used to handle abuse. In short, make the big stinking deal that it is for goodness sakes! As a mom, I lean toward some of the ancient ways to handle the crisis of morality of some in the priesthood. Want to know how it was handled? See this. I realize many of these aren’t going to fly with the “Church of Nice” we’ve got going on these days, but in reality, the ways it was dealt with in the past are far more practical in attaining repentance and everlasting life. I’m reasonably sure McCarrick isn’t feeling enough pain to mourn how his actions that have hurt his own soul much less the soul of others. He’s just sad he got caught. Clearly everlasting life wasn’t in the forefront of his mind. “Uncle Ted” might be too old for flogging, but I think the rest of St. Basil’s suggestions would be appropriate:
Any cleric or monk who seduces young men or boys, or who is apprehended in kissing or in any shameful situation, shall be publicly flogged and shall lose his clerical tonsure. Thus shorn, he shall be disgraced by spitting in his face, bound in iron chains, wasted by six months of close confinement, and for three days each week put on barley bread given him toward evening. Following this period, he shall spend a further six months living in a small segregated courtyard in custody of a spiritual elder, kept busy with manual labor and prayer, subjected to vigils and prayers, forced to walk at all times in the company of two spiritual brothers, never again allowed to associate with young men.
If you think that is harsh, compare it to the eternal fires of hell. What if this were the protocol for our priests and seminarians today? I’m thinking we’d have a lot less abuse. I suppose right now we all need to at least give the response of St. Peter Damien to our hierarchy:
Listen, you do-nothing superiors of clerics and priests. Listen, and even though you feel sure of yourselves, tremble at the thought that you are partners in the guilt of others; those, I mean, who wink at the sins of their subjects that need correction and who by ill-considered silence allow them license to sin. Listen, I say, and be shrewd enough to understand that all of you alike are deserving of death, that is, not only those who do such things, but also they who approve those who practice them.
And to you liberals who are going to start whining about married priests and women priests, don’t. If priests can’t follow the teachings of the Catholic Church in regards to their vows and morality, these silly suggestions aren’t going to help. Remember, these priests aren’t abusing BECAUSE they are following the teachings of the Church. The are abusing because they ARE NOT following the teachings. We need men who are going to adhere to the teaching and disciplines of the Church, not men and babes who are going to use this scandal for their own agenda.
So, again and again, please do not let this scandal keep you from the Church and her sacraments. That’s not where you’re going to find peace, whether you have been abused or have suffered from the backlash of the scandal. This is the devil trying to take you away from truth by using those who are supposed to preach the truth to us. See it for what it is and tell satan to go back to hell.