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The Depth of the Scandal

  /   Sunday August 26, 2018  

I first started blogging right around the time the news of the sexual abuse scandal hit in 2002. You can go back in the archives and see my perspective back then as a single man in his late 20s with no children. In light of recent news stories, here I am now taking this topic up again as a 40-something with a wife and children.

I am hoping I can convey what I want to say without making it look like I am downplaying the absolutely heinous nature of the crimes committed against the victims of the scandal. These things should not be tolerated in the Church, and I think what Fr Dwight Longenecker wrote is a good example of how the problem needs to be handled. I’m especially disgusted at how someone like Archbishop McCarrick could be promoted the way he has been despite his conduct, and there really needs to be an investigation into who knew what and when and what they did about it. However, what needs to be understood is that, as demonic as the sexual abuse is, there is more to the problem in the Church than sexual abuse.

When I have heard people say that the Church doesn’t have a higher incidence of sexual abuse than the rest of society, it underscores the problem for me. The problem is that those who were supposed to be preaching the Gospel followed what our society was doing rather than led it. The light of the world was hidden under a bushel basket. When I hear people complaining about the teachings of the Church in light of the abuse scandal, I know that the real problem was that the teachings on human sexuality weren’t really taught or insisted upon and were sometimes disregarded by those in authority.

One definite component of the problem is enforcement. This article by Phil Lawler from 2002 said something that I had noticed but often wasn’t sure how to articulate. This is more evident when you take a look around the Church and see what else was allowed to slide.

Dissenters against the Faith were allowed to continue to use our own forums as a platform for dissent against established teachings. Our Catholic schools and universities largely sold out to the secular world, and nothing was really done about it. The celebration of Mass in many parishes became filled with saccharine instead of true beauty.

Resources and programs for formation in the Faith were lame at best. Just imagine trying to explain to someone wanting to learn the Catholic Faith that you can’t rely on the official parish or diocesan program to tell you what you really need to know. That was often the case then and is probably still the case now in a number of places. With all of this going on, how surprising was it that even criminal misconduct got swept under the rug?

With all of this said, the problem, and therefore the solution, is something deeper than mere enforcement of rules or the lack thereof. The problem is a lack of faith. There are plenty who will write suggesting “reforms” that are essentially changes to the Church to make her more like the secular world. This is not what we need.

All of us, from our Pope and our bishops to the laity, need to have an authentic faith in what has been revealed by God. Our shepherds need to insist that the faith be lived by those who wish to be called faithful, and the faithful need to insist that our shepherds proclaim the Catholic Faith as it is. Any action taken must address the problem in it’s entirely and must be taken with the salvation of souls in mind. We don’t need statements made and committees formed as though we were a spineless and soulless corporation. We are the Church that Christ founded, and we need to act like it. We will all be held accountable by God himself.

Category: News, Response

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