Issues that are rapidly destroying the Catholic Church are becoming more pervasive every day. The pope is attempting to deal with a massive and global public relations disaster. His reticence about enforcing a no tolerance sexual abuse policy is creating more doubt and suspicion for many Catholics. Additionally there seems to be little consensus about what to do among senior leadership of the Church.
The charges against the priesthood have increased materially in recent months. We now know that priests have sexually abused members of virtually every group that depends upon spiritual counseling. Along with other priests, young women and young men, it has been reported that sex between priests and nuns is not uncommon. Some nuns have given birth to children sired by priests.
For many years the hierarchy of the Church has protected evildoers among them, enabling these sinners to continue to prey upon vulnerable individuals inside and outside the Church. And we now know priests, pastors, bishops, cardinals and popes have turned a blind to horrendous behavior that made it possible for these acts to continue.
The perpetrators are criminals and have committed heinous crimes against humanity. They should have been prosecuted by legal authorities and defrocked by the Church. The facilitators of these dreadful actions are equally culpable and should be similarly prosecuted as co-conspirators.
The issue that is most disturbing relates to misuse of power. Priests are using their positions and status in the Church to target victims. So many of these injured parties have trusted their parish priests over the years while they were raping their children as emissaries of God.
Why have popes, cardinals, bishops and other leaders of the Church enabled criminals to escape prosecution and expulsion from the priesthood? It’s rather simple. The Church has chosen to protect its reputation at the expense of the safety of its flock.
Pope Francis toured the US with great fanfare and promise. In fact he assured the world he would deal with thousands of sexual abuse accusations and train his underlings to manage the Church’s problems more effectively.
These promises have not been kept because Francis is no different than the men who preceded him. He’s a conservative masquerading as a progressive pope. A college of cardinals that likely includes enablers elected him. Francis should conduct a survey and ask each of his underlings, under oath, if they have and/or are abusing anyone, and if they ever covered up acts of depravity by their peers or subordinates.
The Church uses the sacrament of penance to justify its inane policies. Anyone can be forgiven regardless of the severity of his or her sins in a confessional. But, the Church has suppressed the most important part of absolution, which is the vow to never commit the same offense again.
What should the Church do to end the onslaught it’s experiencing? It’s inevitable that Pope Francis will be called upon to resign by some. He has made little progress on the issues presented herein. And secondly the Church needs a fall guy.
Francis is too deeply imbedded in the sins of the past. He, along with many of his peers, has failed to protect the youngest and most vulnerable members of his flock. Too many people have suffered and continue to feel the pain of actions going back many years. It’s time for new blood to take over. Real change will be possible only with new leadership.
Credibility can only be regained if all the evildoers, facilitators and incompetents are rooted out of the priesthood. Every offender needs to be identified, defrocked and prosecuted, if possible. Only then would Catholics around the world begin to again seek out the sage counsel of their priests.
Another major issue that should be on the table is the sensibility of celibacy. Why would any person seek the advise of a priest relating to marriage or child rearing if a priest has no experience in these matters? Priests should be able to marry and have children thereby ending an absurd rule that has in effect impacted so many over the centuries.
Any man will tell you that the touch, affection and physical love of a partner are critical to his happiness. Without them chances of psychological problems will increase. Related is the question why women cannot be ordained as priests.
The Church is at a crossroads. It needs young and reformed leadership to regain its status. If the Church continues to deny its missteps it will fade away over time.