The bad news continues for the Catholic Church, as a new wave of scandals appears to be buffeting the church and rising up as high at the Pope. This is not so unpredictable if anyone has been paying the least bit of attention, and watching events unfold in a manner that is fit for feeding frenzy of the secular media. This is a time when we need to be praying for all involved, and demonstrating the faith the church has attempted to teach, but not necessarily living.
As wave after wave of scandals are exposed, it is going to be more difficult to discuss and enforce church teachings with any credibility. However, this is the time to do so, more than ever, as there seem to be many in the clerical ranks that are becoming more ‘renegade’ and undermining what little semblance of respectability remains. As a life long Catholic, and former Seminarian, this is a very painful process to watch, and I hope this situation starts to resolve itself, starting with those that have the authority to stand up and defend the faith as they should.
It is really time to begin to clean house. Yes, it needs to start with Rome, but there are plenty around that need to be shown the exits. This was discussed about the time I left Seminary in 1986, and back then, very few had the intestinal fortitude to even say anything, and even fewer wanted to act on what they knew. I know, I was one who stood up to this scandal, and ended up on the outside looking in. I told many, that this would be preached from the rooftops, and the lid would never stay on ‘this can of worms’. Not a hard prophesy to make, but a heartbreaking one at that.
My fears back then, and I expressed them to many of my friends who remained in the Seminary, and eventually were ordained, that to compromise in order to stay in and become ordained, seemed to me a betrayal of what I thought the faith was and how it should be lived. We see that now being lived out, by these same men now running from the difficult decisions that need to be made. Years of compromising beliefs to make it through the system, has trained these same men to continue the same behaviors after ordination, and in many cases, after being elevated to Bishop.
Why one would believe that they can compromise for years, then all of a sudden, grow a backbone when ‘matters of faith’ are compromised, are beyond me. Seminary is to be a place of formation, and to develop a spiritual backbone while one is in the process of becoming a cleric. Unfortunately, our society, and to a large extend the world wide church, has reaped what it has sown. This is why we have Bishops that will not enforce matters like Cannon 915 that would deny Communion to pro death politicians. This is why we have priests and Bishops who would rather keep the peace, and chastise those who challenge the sinful behaviors and wayward beliefs. Compromise and comfort are the desired outcomes of many of today’s clergy, and it has been indoctrinated into their formation for the last few decades.
It is time to clean house. It would be better to be down to a third of the Priests, and a quarter of the Bishops, if that’s what it takes to bring about clarity of the faith. For too long now, we laity have been sold out when it comes to compromise at the expense of the faith, and have been fed a poisonous form of pabulum that has been masquerading as faith for too long. Real love is doing the right thing even if it hurts, and the Church is neither teaching nor demonstrating real love at this time. Nothing good will be accomplished by hiding scandals and trying to pretend they do not exist. Nothing will be accomplished by failing to teach and preach the good news, in order to placate those who could really care less about what the Faith is or what it stands for. It is time to stop betraying those that want to know and live by the Faith, but especially those who are watching, and may be thinking of taking on the Faith as their own.
What poor examples we have become, when it becomes more important to ‘save face’ and cover up, and make excuses for the sinful behaviors than to take a tough stand and send these people packing. We are rapidly becoming a Faith that seems to compromise on all the core values when challenged, and where those even in a position of authority seem to break with the hierarchical authority on a whim. Yet many of these same clerics demand total allegiance to their positions and authority when they hand down a declaration or teaching. They see mandates of Cannon law as ‘suggestions’ and matters of debate versus clear instruction and non compromising positions. Often they see themselves as the final arbiter of the Faith, and will pride fully reject any guidance or mandates given by those who have the authority on such matters.
It is these who are ruining the Faith, and causing dissention amongst the brethren, not those who have the courage to speak up and defend the Faith. It is time for those who do not believe to get out. It does not matter how high of a position they are in, if they don’t live by the Faith and Teach the Faith, they need to be in a place where they can cause no more harm, and that is on the outside. There is no more need to protect these people, and it is they, that have the burden of proof to prove they are worthy to be in the positions they are in. It is time for a good house cleaning. It needs to start in Rome, and it needs to be thorough. And it needs to be soon, before we lose all semblances of sanity and authority in this church. It’s time to stop betraying the men who are solid, and living by the Faith. Let’s do something radical: let’s actually back up those that are faithful to the Church, and get rid of those who are not.