The present scandal in the Church regarding the exposure of child sexual abuse by priests is only the tip of the iceberg. While I'm disgusted by the entire mess, I'm even more disgusted that it took secular media exposure to get the attention of the Pope, while certain Catholic media have been reporting on this very topic and screaming "SCANDAL" for years.
Now that the sin has been revealed to the whole world and there is no longer anywhere to hide, the U.S. Cardinals express "consensus among bishops" regarding the necessary steps to end the scandal and stop the homosexual merry-go-round among priests.
Catholics have looked to the Holy Father for swift, stern discipline of the bishops whose track records belie their innocence in sending pedophile homosexual priests from parish to parish. Hopes were high for a minute when the Pope proclaimed that the sexual abuse is "wrong and rightly considered a crime by society." However, the revealing moment came when he immediately ran to the defense of the bishops and attempted to absolve them of any intentional wrong doing. According to a news report from ZENIT (2002-04-23, Sex Abuse an "Appalling Sin" and a Crime, Says Pope), the Holy Father acknowledged that "a generalized lack of knowledge of the nature of the problem and also at times the advice of clinical experts led bishops to make decisions which subsequent events showed to be wrong."
Once again, the faithful are treated as if we live in some other world and have no comprehension of reality. Are we really to believe that these bishops have had such a "lack of knowledge of the nature" of pedophilia that they didn't know it was criminal and sinful? Must we believe that the well being of the faithful was even a consideration when bishops sent these offenders into other parishes? Are we to believe these events were uncharacteristic and isolated in nature when in fact the documented evidence indicates that some of the highest clerics in this country have turned a blind eye to the homosexual shroud choking out our seminaries for years?
If we believe this, then we must put Michael Rose's new book, Goodbye! Good Men! in the category of fiction, fantasy or perhaps science fiction. Likewise, we would also have to believe that concerned Catholics have been silent about these things all these years and have never written letters to their bishops or to the Pope himself. We would have to pretend the lawsuits never happened and that there were never any out-of-court settlements.
Hello? In black and white, right before our eyes, we have a classic example of the fox finally getting caught in the henhouse to the tune of ABC, NBC and CNN. I personally think the modern Catholic Church is on auto-pilot and find it hard to believe the U.S. Cardinals would have been called to Rome if the secular media hadn't exposed this scandal to the whole world.
The Holy Father tries to appease the anger of the world's people by saying that there is "no place in the priesthood and religious life for those who would harm the young." He goes on to say that this situation "is a grave symptom of a crisis affecting not only the Church but society as a whole. It is a deep-seated crisis of sexual morality, even of human relationships, and its prime victims are the family and the young."
Interestingly, John Paul II sees this as a "crisis of sexual morality" rather than getting to the heart of the matter which is a crisis of loss of faith and abandonment of the Church's mission to proclaim the truth and save souls. I'm confident that if the authentic, traditional priesthood had not been abandoned for the sake of befriending the world, this scandal would never have reached such horrific proportions.
I agree with the Pope that what we see in this scandal is only a symptom, but I differ with him on what the symptom is pointing towards. The underlying problem which the modern Church continues to deny is the ongoing, systematic devastation and destruction of real Roman Catholicism.
Interestingly, one of the most conservative Catholic newspapers which constantly exposes garbage in the modern Church (while remaining clueless as to why these things have been going on) is now calling for the Pope to appoint a "Papal Legate." This papal legate would be someone appointed by the Pope to come into the United States and correct abuses with papal authority. He could remove bishops from office, close down seminaries and "catholic" colleges and universities that aren't up to snuff. This guy could do just about anything! The newspaper then goes on to list all the actions such a legate should take to bring the Church back to sanity while admitting that these scandals and abuses have been going on for over 30 years.
Please excuse me, but doesn't 30 years sound like a long time to be allowing all these scandals to develop and become embedded in the Church? Does it not appear that someone has been neglecting a very important job here? Let's face the truth. A papal legate would be the equivalent of forcing the bishops to obey the pope and would be offensive to the notion of collegiality. This would be counter-productive to the fruits of the post-conciliar Church.
Still other Catholic news media are falling over backwards to praise the Pope's "strong message" against this atrocity, or are "applauding" his aggressive response. These folks are actually venting a strong sigh of relief that action is being taken. I'm not getting excited that the U.S. Cardinals who met with the Pope "adopted a rule to defrock priests who sexually prey on minors" or that they are considering giving priority attention to selection and training of seminarians. These things should have always been expected at the very least and should not now be considered ground breaking, fantastic advancements. However, this recent flurry of activity will no doubt lull a multitude of Catholics back into complacent sleep, after acknowledging that at least there is still someone at the wheel.
Any real advancements in the state of the modern Church will require more than a new rule and much more than removing a bishop or two (if that were to actually happen). Without a return to holiness and purity of heart and mind, absolutely no changes can be expected to affect the rotting core. Without a radical change in its priorities the fruits of this church are not going to suddenly be transformed.
Is it realistic to expect anything of substance from a cardinal who sat down with the Pope and "adopted a rule to defrock priests" when in practice this same cardinal caters to the likes of Fr. Richard Sparks who gallops from diocese to diocese explaining a sick new-age sexuality to catechists? Is this scandal going to have any impact on the many priests from coast to coast who have for years refused to proclaim the teachings of the Church because they might offend someone? Will we now finally have the opportunity to be assured of a Church intent on honoring and worshipping God instead of ourselves?
Sorrowfully, many Catholics will be expecting a new day to dawn for authentic Catholicism in light of the uncovering of the sex scandals, but as I said earlier, the modern Church is on auto-pilot and, sadly, I'm afraid, also asleep at the wheel.