Compassion and the Catholic Church’s Sex Scandals
A few Sundays ago at Mass, the first reading and Gospel had to do with forgiveness and compassion.
The first reading opened with the Israelites in the desert who began worshiping the golden calf.
God’s patience wore thin and His wrath grew fierce. He was ready to punish them, destroy them. Enter Moses. He pleaded with God to show mercy and compassion towards these wayward people. He reminded the Almighty, that these errant, stubborn sons and daughters were the people He chose. God listened to Moses and spared the lives of the now repentant sinful idolaters.
The Gospel reading was the familiar story of the Prodigal Son who left home and squandered his inheritance on every vice imaginable. He returns home expecting nothing but to live as no longer a son but a laborer in his father’s house. His father, when he saw his son approach prepared a celebration. The son asked for forgiveness. His father embraced him and forgave him as undeserving as he was.
These days when I attend Mass I am plagued with ugly thoughts about the clergy who victimized others, who betrayed their vocations, about Bishops who covered for heinous crimes or committed them themselves and continue to do so. I think of all the priests I know who may not be predators but are sexually active mostly with men and live a duplicitous life. This lie that they live predisposes them to cover for their brothers who are predators, not so much with younger minors, but with young teens and adults, like seminarians who are under their care and counsel.
Many, of these men, are not total monsters. They are excellent homilists although they avoid homilies about sexual morality, marriage and family life, the very issues people need to have clarified for them. These men are popular and well-liked pastors. They are outwardly kind and giving. All the kindness and good homilies in the world cannot make up for what they have done which is to cover for predatory “clergy brothers” out of fear that their own sexual activity may be exposed.
These men who live a double life have lost moral authority. Many have adopted the heterodox belief that they have not committed any wrong and that a sex life with men does not violate celibacy. Unlike the prodigal son who admitted his sin and asked for forgiveness these sexually active priests/Bishops/Cardinals deny they are sinning. Furthermore, Bishops refuse to address priests having consensual sex with adult males (or females)* even though Canon Law is clear that Bishops have the authority to do so.
Why do Bishops not act on this? Many Bishops are also sexually active almost exclusively with men and have deliberately filled their seminaries and ordained men like themselves (especially true in the late ’70s, the ’80s and ’90s and some until the present). They too have difficulty seeing their actions and the actions of their priests as sinful. What they refuse to see is that beyond the sexual relationship and activity, they have betrayed their vocation, Catholic moral teachings, and the laity. They live a lie and therefore are bound to cover up and lie. This alone has cost so many innocent victims/survivors their relationship to God, a lifetime of pain, and many their very lives.
Bishops have treated the abused like criminals while they protect predators. Bishops have adopted the antithesis to Christian definition of the person.**
Moses, in his compassion, begged God to stay His hand against the Israelites who eventually came to repentance and rejected the golden calf. In Jesus’s story of the prodigal son, the father was overjoyed at his son’s repentance and return and showed his errant son compassion and mercy.
I see no repentance or even admission of sin coming from the clergy/Cardinals/Bishops or even the Pope. Pope Francis elevates these deceitful men, like the former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and others not yet exposed. He himself has been proven deceitful. For example, Pope Francis reinstated former Cardinal McCarrick’s status from Pope Benedict’s restrictions. Pope Francis then elevated McCarrick by sending him to China to broker a deal with the Chinese Communist government, and covered for McCarrick, a Chilean and Argentinian Bishop, and others, all predators. He also supports strongly Fr. James Martin SJ who claims to support the church’s teaching on persons with same sex attraction (homosexuals) yet in fact supports groups attempting to change the church’s teachings and condone sexual activity male/male, female/female, and same sex marriage. James Martin SJ is a walking contradiction.
I ask then how one would show prelates/clergy who cover or who are themselves predatory prelates and clergy compassion, mercy, and forgiveness when there is no repentance?
How does one show compassion, mercy, and forgiveness when unlike the Israelites or prodigal son who by their sin brought destruction only on themselves while the Catholic Hierarchy and clergy’s sin wrought destruction on all of us, the faith, and most especially those sexually abused “in God’s name?”
Until someone can give me an answer on how to show them mercy and compassion. I would rather beg God for justice. I will pray for them to repent for what they have done and are doing and for their miraculous conversion. I am unable to show forgiveness, compassion or mercy towards those who first do not admit their sin, reject its existence, and are not really sorry for what they are doing and have done.
God’s wrath will come or are these wolves in shepherd’s clothing actually God’s wrath itself?
Who would defend these men?
Only those with false compassion, or those who are in bed with them.
*Over 80% of Sex abuse within the Catholic church was committed against males. However, 20% was the abuse of females. The prevalent problem within the clergy is in fact pederasty. Both need to be addressed, with the former recognized clearly as a result of the disproportionate number of sexually active same sex attracted prelates and clergy.
** many have adopted the worldview of sexual identity. Who a person is attracted to then identifies/defines “who they are”. This is Reductionism which reduces the whole of the person to only one aspect (sexual attraction) of their total definition of self. Persons are much more than who they are sexually attracted to. Reductionism is confining, limiting, and in Catholicism an affront against the dignity of the human person. It must be noted that many SSA men reject the “gay identity” while not denying they have a sexual attraction toward men.