The sexual scandal within the Roman Catholic Church is an outrage and is brushed aside too easily by the Bishops.
by Charlie Leck
The U.S. Conference of Bishops has recently issued a report about the rash of sexual abuse by priests within the church. Unfortunately, the tenor and tone of the report is sad and mistaken. And, that’s both depressing and too bad. The bishops would have us believe that it was low and lax cultural mores of the general society and the sexual openness of the 60s and 70s that is to blame in large part for these incidents. [You can read the full report if you wish!]
I have only one thing to say: “Oh, my God!”
I chatted about this subject with a son-in-law and daughter this past week.
“Why did the church protect these villains rather than outing them?”
I had an answer that I’d formulated in my own mind over the last couple of years. I compared it to bad teachers in the national school system and why they are protected by other teachers rather than pointed out. A bond of brotherhood builds up and natural protective instincts take over among most of the brothers and sisters. And, there is a sense of protecting the institutions (the “schools” and the “church”).
In fact, the new report from the bishops throws up a screen of defense around the church and the priests and the officials who did not act responsibly.
As my own, local newspaper editorialized in the 31 May 2011 edition:
“In page after page, the report also accuses the news media of misrepresenting the crisis, dismisses church-mandated celibacy for priests as a cause for the criminal behavior and splits hairs over the definition of pedophilia (in order to claim that most child-molesting priests weren't pedophiles).
“Church leaders couldn't have weeded out the deviants, the report claims, because of unforeseeable factors arising from society, including the sexual revolution. Don't believe it. The "findings" reflect the same carefully crafted public-relations spin used by the bishops when the American scandals erupted in 2002.
“Instead of looking to the culture outside the church to minimize egregious crimes and leadership failures, the report should have focused on the culture within. At the heart of the crisis was clericalism, the mind-set of ecclesiastical privilege in which leaders behave as an anointed class accountable to no one except those above them in the church hierarchy.” [read the entire editorial]
The scandal within the Church is very disturbing. The reaction of the Church to it is even more disturbing.
The hierarchy of the Church ought to be on its knees – publically – confessing its great sin (that is, protecting the perps) and begging for mercy and forgiveness. Otherwise, there is no way that church can expect people to have faith in it.
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