Worldwide scandal in the Catholic Church
The Catholic Church has faced a raft of allegations of child sex abuse by priests and an inadequate response by bishops. To date, allegations are abundant.
[Editor's Commentary] These acts and allegations reveal an appalling behavior by both priests and bishops. However, it shouldn't come as a complete surprise that priest are capable of grave sins. We do not know the specific causes of the fall of these priests anymore than we can defintively state the causes of pedophilia, even though there is a strong correlation that pedophiles were abused as children. But certainly, we should take into account the intent of these abuses. It is known, by a great deal of research, that pedophilia activities are extensively planned. Pedophiles seek positions of respect and authority to hide their intent, are very clever and adept in grooming their targets, and are skilled in presenting themselves as very reputable individuals. Hence, seeking respectable positions as clergy, teachers, and coaches, where they are around children, are very attractive
It should also be noted that the great majority of these allegations reference crimes more than 10 years old, and that the Church has been frank and straight forward in cooperating with civil authorities. Over this time the investigation and selection of clerics has undergone extensive re-evaluation. Obviously, these precedures weren't as strict and through in the past as they are today, and it is a credit to the Church that it has accepted full responsibility, made restitution, and has taken strong measures to protect its parishioners, particularly innocent children.
It, also, should not be surprisinmg that bishops would seek to protect priests and the Church. Protecting the reputation of Church is somewhat ingrained, almost as ingrained as protecting the reputation of sinners under the seal of confession. Even with that in mind, there were means available to protect the innocent by counselling, removing faculties, or by laicizing offending priests. That the bishops chose not to do so is certainly a derilection of duty. However, the Church, in response to these scandals, has taken extensive and effective steps to guard against future abuses. This is highly laudable - much more so than that of the American Congress that has a slush fund to cover such allegations and crimes. Thus, society needs to be as forthright, using the experience of the Church as a model. Those, who are critical of the Church, may need to clean their own houses as well.
However, even given the strong steps the Church has taken, it rocks our faith that such a thing can happen by those who are called to be examples of holiness. For the faithful, its important to differentiate the sins of individuals, and the mismanagement of priests, from the fundamental doctrine that was give to the Church by Christ himself. Though believers, even priests, may stumble and fall, the teaching and holiness of the Church will prevail because it is the Body of Christ and is protected by the Holy Spirit. With a responsiveness to these issues, and an acceptance of guilt and responsibility, the remant of Catholic Church will emerge stronger and more faithful, though many will be lost because of the scandal.
Good Fences Make Good Neighbors
Saint Thomas Aquinas once said “Quarrels arise more frequently when there is no division of the things possessed." However, it would be erroneous to interpret these words as relating only to physical boundaries or personal property. More importantly, they refer to personal, psychological, and spiritual boundaries. Walls exist because sin and disorder exists. Scandals arise, and evil flourishes, where God given rights and societal norms are violated; where the attraction for our passions overrides the respect and love our neighbor is due. As the conservative social historian, Russel Kirk, once said, "Order is the first need of the soul." In the beginning, prior to all creation, God brought order out of chaos. Where there are no boundaries, where rights are violated, where laws are trampled, freedom is destroyed and chaos and evil reigns. And where walls are damaged, and in need of repair, neighbors need to work together to mend those fences and restore proper respect and boundaries.
Pope Francis Institutes New
Celebration of Mary
“Mother of the Church”
Pope Francis has decreed that the ancient devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title of Mother of the Church, be inserted into the Roman Calendar.
Hebrew: "Blessed be the Name of the Lord."
Vision Amid Scandal
As I reflect on the challenges in the Church this past year, it easily draws me to sorrow. Even so, I see a powerful light piercing through the dark clouds onto the valley floor. This light is the light of Christ that no cloud of corruption can permanently obscure. This is a light that never ceases to pierce and dispel the darkness. This is a light that has a name, His name is Jesus. His name and His Church are the reason I exist. He is my purpose, our purpose, our salvation.
As we enter into Advent, the dawn of our salvation, we are reminded of the Light that once came and comes again at every Mass. This Light shined in the darkness then, and it does so now. It breaks the darkness of broken hearts and minds ... It ignites the minds of future priests. It is the light that beckons the hearts of all Christians to noble and holy vocations. These are the lights of God that He has given us to give to the world. 2
See something different
In a time when the Church is plagued by scandal and attacked from all sides, it is clear that these men see something different, something noble, something worthy of their lives. 3
'I am wounded by love'
What, I ask, is more wonderful than the beauty of God? What thought is more pleasing and wonderful than God’s majesty? What desire is as urgent and overpowering as the desire implanted by God in a soul that is completely purified of sin and cries out in its love: I am wounded by love? The radiance of divine beauty is altogether beyond the power of words to describe.
- Saint Basil the Great