Monday, August 20, 2018

The Sadness of the Church

"Sadness" might not be the right word for the pure horror most practicing Catholics feel when reading about the egregious abuse of innocents at the hands of ordained Roman Catholic ministers of God. My sadness has four parts:

1. The pain and torment of the victims and general harm to souls.
2. The deliberate cover-up by prelates.
3. The shame and ignominy heaped upon good and faithful clergy and laity.
4. The sapping of the resources of the Church, gleaned from the labors and sacrifices of clergy and laity, and the redirection of those resources from apostolic and charitable works to legal fees and lawsuits.

Some of the leaders of our Church have allowed such abominations to fester in our midst.  Those who have done so are the enemies of Christ. The damage done to our Church is far worse than anything inflicted by Nero, Diocletian, Robespierre, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, or ISIS. But Christ will reign in spite of His enemies.

From iBenedictines:
Anyone who has read the IICSA report on Ampleforth and Downside (which you can obtain here, or the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report into sexual abuse in six Catholic dioceses in the State of Pennsylvania (which you can obtain here, will have been left feeling sad and probably angry as well. It is appalling that children and young people should have been treated so abominably while the depraved behaviour of some clerics is mind-numbing. No one ‘gets over’ such abuse, no matter how admirably they cope, or seem to cope, in later life. Official apologies or promises to learn lessons sound increasingly hollow, the clerical equivalent of corporate-speak.

I think we can say the whole Church is sad because of the failure of many bishops and priests to realise how the laity and good, decent clergy and religious feel about the incessant revelations of corrupt and depraved behaviour among their pastors. It is not ‘just’ that young people have been abused; not ‘just’ that there have been cover-ups; not ‘just’ the hypocrisy of promising celibate chastity then living a dissolute life; it is the enormity of the sin and, time and time again, the arrogant indifference of the response that has hurt and led to yet more suffering, especially among the poor. A few years ago I wrote about nuns in the Boston diocese who literally lost the roof over their heads because the diocese needed to pay out large sums in compensation. There was inevitably a knock-on effect on schools and hospitals for the poor. I daresay we may see more of the same in the future, with the most vulnerable suffering the most. But, and it is an important but, it is not my purpose to add to the chorus of lamentation and anger, although I must acknowledge the dreadful wrong done. We need to address the question of what to do now. What do those of us who are ordinary Catholics — priests, religious, lay — do in the light of these scandals? (Read more.)
From Fr. John Zuhlsdorf:
And let’s be clear.  This scandal is about HOMOSEXUALITY. Some of these homosexual predators are, I think, possessed.   Think about it.  If you know anything about demonic activity, and this is something that lay people should not get too involved with, then you know that certain demons specialize in certain kinds of sins.  They will attach themselves like spiritual lampreys to the souls of people who commit them and also to the places where the sins were committed.  Once a demon gets hold, they claim the right to be there, until the layers of their connection are broken one by one.  That’s what exorcism rites do: they break the legalistic claims of the Enemy to be there.

Homosexual sins are particularly grave and their demonic force is concomitantly vile.  And these sins also involve the young or those who are subject to the authority or power of the predator.  Millstones are not enough.   If you wonder about the Lord and capital punishment, HE spoke of the millstone before the Church did.

That’s the supernatural side.  There is also the natural side.  It seems to me that men with these strong disordered inclinations don’t… how to put this… act like other men.  They think differently, they work out differences differently.  I know, I know.  But that’s my sense of things.  It’s hard to articulate. (Read more.)
 From Monsignor Charles Pope:
As a priest of Jesus Christ, I am angry and dismayed that the honorable Sacrament of Holy Orders has been so besmirched and dishonored by the actions of some. I know I do not need to tell most of God’s good people that the majority of priests and bishops have been faithful and are zealous and generous servants. I had insisted until recently that the number of malefactors is very small. But frankly, I must say that, while still a minority, the number is far more extensive than I thought. And while I have at times wanted to insist that the percentage of clerical offenders is the same or lower as other groups of men, I must also say that whatever the percent, the crime is far worse. This is because people entrust to us the most precious and necessary thing they need for salvation — their faith. For any of us to mislead God’s faithful or strip them of the trust they need to attain deeper faith is the worst sort of malpractice. And there are clerics up to the highest ranks who have done this, here and throughout the world. For clergy to go so far as to seduce others to sin is a horrific crime. Jesus said of these who do not repent of such seduction and malpractice: Scandals will inevitably arise: but woe to him through whom they come. It is better for him that a millstone be hung about his neck, and that he be cast into the sea, than that he should scandalize one of these little ones. (Luke 17:1-2) (Read more.)(Via Terry Nelson.)
What is to be done? From Fr. Richard Heilman:
All of these “spiritual warfare initiatives” point to a deeper, underlying truth … This has been a secular war on the supernatural. So, we claim the Rosary as our supernatural weapon, we see acts of penance as a way to supernaturally intensify our prayers, we purify our soul and don the supernatural armor of grace through the Sacrament of Penance, and we deepen our faith in the Holy Eucharist and the power obtained by receiving it through Adoration. The counter-revolution to the counter-revolution is our belief and reliance on the power of supernatural grace. Did the good and holy Archbishop just “seal the original satanic hole (fissure)?” Recall that Our Lady promised, “In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph.” (Read more.)

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