As a Catholic, I never imagined, until one month ago, what it might feel like to wake up one morning and learn that a significant number of priests, bishops, and now a cardinal, had been silent and tolerant of sexual abuses on minors, teens, and adult seminarians, for encounters going back decades. Events have been unfolding this month at breakneck speed, following the forced resignation of the homosexual clergyman, and former Cardinal (of Washington, D.C.), Theodore McCarrick. It’s difficult to get one’s mind around the gravity, the complexity, the intrigue, and the deception of it all, especially now with revelations, if they be true, that the pope himself may be complicit in holding silent to, and facilitating the career of the now disgraced cardinal’s serial sex abuse. There are no words to truly describe it.
The Truth though will be discovered in due time, God willing.
In the U.S. it began when the now disgraced ex-Cardinal, Theodore McCarrick was forced to resign from the college of cardinals over credible and substantial allegations borne from litigation in New York that he molested an 11-year-old boy (now in his 60s) for years, molested teens, and then using his power and influence, forced himself sexually upon adult seminarians. That is, a powerful man with deep-seated attractions to males used his position of power to exploit younger men under his authority. Then, to boot, there were two payment settlements made in secret, “off the record”, with two accusers.
As if that wasn’t enough, the institutional veil began to lift, and the recent Pennsylvania grand jury report then revealed that over 300 clergy sexually abused over at least 1000 victims over a 70-year period. You can read about these crimes, and their demonic elements, in the grand jury report but I wouldn’t if I were you because even if you’re an atheist it’s enough to turn your stomach, as it did mine.
And two months before the McCarrick case, we learned that all of the bishops in Chile proffered their resignations after a laity uproar there over years of pervasive and persistent clergy sex abuse. Pope Francis accepted several.
Then we read the news that 45 of 150 Honduran seminarians wrote a letter asking for relief from the predatory homosexual environment in their seminary in Tegucigalpa. That is, adult men preying on other adult men, seminarians. The letter was debunked, mocked, and ridiculed by the Honduran Archbishop, who has now been taken to task.
God have mercy! What’s a Catholic to do? What’s a Catholic to think?
The real heartache following the McCarrick news, primarily and almost exclusively seen in the Catholic online press, is the revelation that many people, especially bishops and cardinals, knew about McCarrick’s sexual dalliances and perversions, and did not move to have his transgressions addressed. In fact, because of their silence and inaction, we’ve now learned of a homosexual subculture in the church operating at all levels, including the Vatican, that functions to facilitate and promote in the seminaries and the hierarchy the advancement of clergymen who are, or sympathetic to, male seminarians sodomizing other male seminarians, priests, and bishops. It’s a mess. It’s disgusting. It’s diabolical. It’s enough to make one lose his or her faith – that is, if your faith resides in a man.
Fellow Catholics reading this may want to get informed and share your thoughts and opinions with your priests and bishops. Read the news if you haven’t already. To learn the truth of what is truly happening you will need to go to Catholic websites. The secular main stream media will most likely not report on male on male sexual predation and the part it has played and the evil effects it’s had on the Catholic Church. Homosexual predation, this gay sex scandal, does not fit into the secular homosexual narrative. You will not likely be reading in the SunHerald or your local paper that homosexuals in the Church were preying upon other boys, teens, and men. This, even though according to the 2004 and 2011 John Jay Report 81% of encounters were homosexual, or male on male sexual violence. In the Pennsylvania grand jury report male on male sexual violence was at 74%.
But we are particularly uplifted by churchmen like Bishop Robert Morlino of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin, who in his letter to his parishioners has passionately, succinctly, and firmly hit the proverbial nail on the head of this issue and all its ramifications. You can read the stunning and powerful letter by Bishop Morlino here, where among other things he implores the faithful to have more hatred – hatred of wickedness which, according to St. Thomas Aquinas whom he references, belongs to the virtue of Charity. He adds, “It is an act of love to hate sin and to call others to turn away from sin.”
Bishop Morlino goes on to say that, though “a homosexual inclination is not sinful in itself, it nevertheless is intrinsically disordered in a way that renders any man stably afflicted by it unfit to be a priest.”
He continues. “But while hating the sin, we must never hate the sinner, who is called to conversion, penance, and renewed communion with Christ and His Church, through His inexhaustible mercy.”
To my fellow diocesan Catholics, who may be paralyzed with despair as to what if anything can be done, beyond praying and receiving the Sacraments, I refer you to Bishop Kihneman’s homily this past Sunday which was quite relevant, not for offering any particulars for how to negotiate this dark time, but for his reminder of what should be done, at minimum, as a lay Catholic. Framing the message within the Gospel reading, and obliquely referencing to what is happening nationally in the Church, he urged and reminded all to keep your eyes on God. To taste and see the goodness of the Lord through the intimate encounter with the Eucharist. Though the storm swirls, keep looking to God.
While Catholics are sorely in need of pastoral guidance in these dark times, it will be necessary to have spiritual leadership, if the solutions truly lie within the Church, to act decisively, and quickly, in renouncing and reminding us of what sin is, to lead us in penance and reparations, and to levy practical change in ridding the Church of this diabolical infestation. And while it is important to keep our eyes and mind on God, we must still clean house – the toilet, the closet, the basement, and perhaps, if the Spirit so leads, the attic.
Not until the institutional emesis is complete, and the “purifying fire” results in mere embers, will the invigorating Spiritual Renewal come. Will it happen in our life time? I hope so.
St. Joseph, patron of the Universal Church, pray for us.
Mother Mary, pray for us.
Holy Trinity, help us.