Believe it or not, this is NOT an anti-Catholic rant.
Faithful who fill the pews and seminarians, priests, brothers and sisters who dedicate their lives to emulate the selfless life and teachings of Jesus, have my utmost respect and gratitude. My only critique is that they must be in some massive denial about the credibility of their Church’s leaders to stay affiliated with it.
The Roman Catholic Church is like an ocean liner, in the sense that it is heading straight toward an iceberg but can’t seem to make course corrections significant or impactful enough to change direction and avoid disaster. It’s a disaster that is inevitable. Eventually, all empires grow too corrupt to sustain themselves and must fall. Unfortunately, while steaming along to this inescapable end, countless lives have been destroyed as the direct result of clerical elites attempting to preserve a status quo they have come to enjoy and believe they deserve.
Their hypocrisy adds a thick layer of insult to the unmistakable injury that results from childhood sexual abuse at the hands of trusted priests.
This select group of bishops, cardinals, and popes has been in their own denial for centuries, if not millennia. The clerical leadership of the Church is not just learning the scope of this problem now. They have been trying to keep a lid on it and deal with it piecemeal and in secret ever since priests were first required to take a vow of celibacy in 1139 A.D. The Church’s own Code of Canon Law shows how this was a significant and problematic issue as far back as the fourth century A.D.
More recently, Father Thomas Doyle warned them in a report given at the US conference of bishops in 1985 but was ignored. A public discussion of child sexual abuse by clergy took place on the campus of the University of Notre Dame in 1967, to which all U.S. Catholic bishops were invited. Bishops have been removing sexually abusive priests and sending them to facilities to stamp them cured, and then placing them back in unsuspecting parishes since the 1950s.
Similar patterns of abuse and secret cover-ups are being exposed at an accelerating rate since the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team exposed Cardinal Law’s cover-up in 2002. Anyone who cares to can see how each new scandal follows the same predictable playbook. This can only happen when the playbook is written at the top of the food chain and passed down as a rulebook for everyone else to follow (or face eternal damnation?).
The only motivation sufficient to stir the royal family of the Church to action is protecting the reputation and finances of the goose laying the golden egg, Mother Church. Once they have safeguarded their unique, “holy” place in society, they breathe a sigh of relief and go on with business as usual. After all that has been laid bare, this institution still believes its best strategy is to deny, lie and coerce, to keep its secrets hidden, lest its boys’ club of power and privilege be dismantled.
Watch how it continues to play out right in front of eyes, today, right now, at this very moment in time:
- In Pennsylvania there are 2 dozen lawyers, for former and current Catholic clergy, trying to block a Grand Jury Report two years in the making, into six of the eight Catholic Diocese in the state. The other two dioceses have already seen scathing reports of abuse and cover-up.
- Washington, DC’s Cardinal Archbishop emeritus Theodore McCarrick was just informed he can’t do priest things anymore because he was credibly accused of abusing a minor when he was a priest in New York, over forty years ago. But it’s been well known for decades in NY, NJ, DC, and Rome that “Uncle Teddy” as he was wont to be called, had been thumbing his nose at celibacy by seducing and/or coercing seminarians and young priests to be his paramours for decades. Yet since they weren’t minors, and it therefore wasn’t an actual crime, Pope Francis honors and embraces him.
- Pope Francis himself did his best to quash an investigation into abusive Chilean priests and the bishops who enabled and covered it up. Public statements to the contrary, it wasn’t until local law enforcement raided the offices of the diocese and seized records that anything consequential began to happen.
The Church has NEVER admitted liability for, revealed information (what and when they knew) about, or used any of its considerable wealth to aid the victims of its sexually abusive priests UNTIL they were already caught and had no other recourse. Even then, they arranged to do the least they could get away with. The next edition of the Oxford Dictionary should have a picture of a bishop next to the entry for “self-preservation”!
The whole damn mess needs to be exposed once and for all before anything is going to change. It’s been demonstrated time and time again that the prelates of the Catholic Church are constitutionally incapable of being honest. It makes me want to reach out and shake the remaining faithful who still put hard earned money in the collection plate every Sunday and ask them “Is there anything you can find in the conduct of the Church’s hierarchy that even remotely emulates the life and teachings of Jesus?”
I didn’t think so.