It was good works, compassion, helping those less fortunate and spreading the good news of love and equality in the sight of God that brought the Catholic Church into being in the first place. Not the other way around.
But it has been the moral weakness and greed of men over the following centuries that has steered it toward the amassing of great riches and political influence and warped its guiding motivation into the protection of that wealth and power at the expense of those very principles that inspired its birth. This has never been more evident than in the current battle in Albany over the Child Victims Act (“CVA”). When the CVA is finally passed in New York State, and it looks like this could be the year, the Roman Catholic Church, along with all the other institutions that profess to hold our souls in their care, will suffer an even more dramatic decline of faith in their leadership than we can already see at present.
It is crystal clear that Church leaders are actively fighting against the CVA for their own self-interests at the expense of today’s and future children’s safety. They are fighting hard, pouring millions of dollars into lobbying politicians to keep any bill with a “look-back-window” from gaining traction in the New York legislature while at the same time claiming to be protecting children by advocating for versions of the CVA that change the statute of limitations going forward but have no look-back window. This is not only a disingenuous argument but a calculated effort that sacrifices our children’s safety in order to protect the church’s own reputation (read reputation as the preservation of their own wealth and power).
The purpose of the one year window, in which previously time-barred civil claims can be pursued, is to end the ability of sexual predators to remain at large any longer. In stark contrast, the purpose of the bishop’s obstruction of the CVA’s window is to keep secret its own decades-long complicity which if exposed would jeopardize the fundraising that supports their empire. They take this position even though they know the only way to have an impact on the predators who are in our homes, classrooms, parishes and youth groups today is to allow access to the justice system for those survivors who are ready to confront their perpetrators now!
To the institutions that oppose the CVA (Catholic Bishops, Boy Scouts of America, Agudath Israel, insurance companies, and others) this would threaten the survival of the whole clerical hierarchy upon which these institutions have molded themselves. Their elite leadership might not survive such a cataclysm, but good works, compassion, helping those less fortunate and spreading the good news of love and equality in the sight of God will have no difficulty living on without them.