Omerta

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Bill Donohue of the Catholic League just wrote a piece entitled, DELIRIOUS REACTIONS TO CHURCH ABUSE. In this article the outspoken defender of the Catholic Faith, Mr. Donohue goes on and on about the abuse that is present in the filthy subset of American Culture called Hollywood. He points to the rapes, the pedophilia, the overall corruption of the industry and he seems to go on and on as if this excuses the sexual crisis that we find ourselves embroiled within the Catholic Church at the moment. And it is for more than just a moment. This has been going strong since before the advent of Vatican II.

Now I don’t know why, if he wants to give excuses for our present situation he leaves out Government politicians, large Corporate enterprises and of course Organized Crime. Their sins are as scarlet, but we all know that and almost expect it. they are on a whole a corrupt bunch who are primarily psychopathic narcissists which care little about anyone but themselves. Their thrill in their crimes against people and the laws of the land and by getting away, in plain view, with these crimes and acts of moral depravity that others go to jail for. This is their thrill. They have no love for their associates and ‘friends’ as they are being used during moments when they are needed for their own benefit; to climb the ladders to success, amass power and prestige, and of course live a life that few could live without spending a life in jail.

What particularly struck me was the offense that Bill Donohue seems to take with ordinary, outraged Catholics as well as others in the media and other people who are not all that enamored with Catholicism in the first place. So it comes across as an apologia for the Catholic Church by pointing a finger at others and diminishing the number of crimes against our clerics including Bishops and Cardinals within the Church. It seems that he is setting up a convenient straw man defense as if these others are equivalent to the crisis at hand. It is not.

They all have one thing in common however and that is their practice of what the mafia calls omerta; the unwritten law of silence, that is practiced among all groups of psychopaths who rise to power, attempt to retain power, in order to promote those who obey and punish those who do not. When their usefulness is over and they are no longer relevant then it is OK to single them out and humiliate them. And should the person who is caught with his hand in the cookie jar retaliates, then all the forces of the clique of blackmailers will come down heavy upon them. Their legal fees and their pensions may be revoked and they will be shuffled off to jail or to seclusion depending on the information that they are willing to share with police and civil authorities. It can even cost a man his life if he breaks the code of silence.

It seems that Bill Donohue is having a hard time trying to convince Catholics who are angry and calling for justice that his argument is essentially the same. But this is the entire fallacy of his article. We know that these things go on in the underbelly of society but doesn’t Bill understand that the Catholic Church is supposed to be a beacon of moral relevance in this world? Does he understand how much worse it is for a successor to the Apostles who is supposed to care for the souls of the Church has a duty that far surpasses any group out in the world? We are supposed to be separate from the world and perhaps that is part of the problem. It seems that we are becoming more and more like the world? And when you fall from a place that is infinitely higher than the atheistic and hedonistic places of power in this world it makes a bigger splash and is far more tragic and meaningful. 

Yes, the Catholic Church has been infiltrated by homosexuals, incontinent prelates, blackmailers, Communists, freemasons and others who are little better than organized crime. And it seems that omerta and the covering up of their crimes is standard operating procedure. It is a scandal, and we should all call it a scandal, for it is precisely what it is. No use in mincing words and no use in making excuses or saying that this group or that group is more filthy than we are. That just doesn’t cut it anymore. Are we the Mystical Body of Christ or not? Are we to be saving souls rather than killing the souls of our own and perhaps chasing them away from the Church for the rest of their lives. Do their souls count for more than your feeble excuse for their equivalency to other fallen groups like Hollywood? I would be ashamed to try to equate the two as a defense and as a way to silence the scandalized Catholics who are abused themselves by all of this. For this scandal puts a black mark on everyone who is a Catholic and drives those who were considering becoming Catholic to go elsewhere. 

I’m sorry but when the Church practices omerta and operates like a gay mafia then we need to start a war to drive them from our midst. Homosexuality in the clergy is a large part of the cliques that have formed and it is also a large part of the malfeasance of the Church’s money and the state of the Vatican Bank as well. It is time to clean house. No excuses, no equivalencies and no pointing of fingers to the guy next to you. Lets point the finger at ourselves and get to work cleaning out the mess.

Foolish to the Gentiles – The Atonement

In light of a series on the Atonement that I have been following on another site (http://drmsh.com/dr-johnson-responds-questions-atonement-discussion/) and Philip Augustine’s recent reposting of a piece by Geoffrey Sales, whom we all miss, I thought it might be good to revisit this post by Rob, who is also much missed. I very much empathise with Rob’s concerns shared in this post about evangelism and one’s own understanding of the character of God.

All Along the Watchtower

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The cross is meaningless to those who are perishing. Christ crucified is a stumbling block for Jews and foolishness to Gentiles but to us who are being saved it’s the power and wisdom of God seen in Jesus Christ. In this manner of redeeming us God’s foolishness proves wiser and His weakness stronger than we can conceive. I began in faith simply knowing God gave Jesus for me and that believing I would experience His life.

However as time moved on there was an underlying disturbance in my soul over the explanation I was receiving of how Christ was given for me. The picture emerged gradually that Jesus agonising death on the cross was in order for God the Father to punish Him for my sins so that I could be released from the punishment I deserved.

Love for Christ was the response whenever I considered His suffering, but accompanied with…

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Pro-Choice: Ordered or Disordered Freedom

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It is astonishing to me that people at times say that the restrictions of Catholics is too hard and they do not allow the individual enough freedom in their lives; though it is uncertain as to what this freedom consists.

On a macro level, it is obvious that we all have full access to freedom: Pro-Choice in everything we do. We are totally free, due to God’s gift of freewill, to abide by Him and to submit ourselves to His will or to sin in life. We can and do commit at times the most heinous crimes as is obvious in the present sex scandals in the Catholic Church. What is to stop us? So what you are after, it seems, is not ‘freedom’ to live according to God’s will but to have God change His will so that you can live your life outside of His Holy Will but according to your own; without any restrictions, regrets, shame or duties that even a simple marriage vow binds one to.

If we Love God as we think we do then it seems logical that we should take to heart our saviors words: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind.”__ Matthew 22:37  As in a marriage vow we give to one another our entire selves in sacrificial love and perhaps for the first time in our lives we live our lives for another; to please them, protect them, to abide with them in good times and in bad times. There is nothing we would not do to attempt to bring them anything but complete happiness and joy. 

Is it not the same with God, except more so? For we seem not to think that the burden of marriage is too hard (though many fail at this these days) but we all know of good marriages that have succeeded and when they fell for a time they made up and rebuilt their marriages on trust and fidelity once again. Do we feel imprisoned in marriage? Do we feel that we have lost our freedom? Would we rather be free of our responsibilities and lose the love of another that we have become one with? Speaking for myself the answer I would give is no.

Now when God and His Church asks of us to take on His yoke and encourages us with the words, For my yoke is sweet and my burden light.” __ Matthew 11:30  it is not because He is a liar but because He knows that True Love of Him makes His Will easy for us to bear as it does in a good and Holy marriage. Yes, we will fail from time to time as our human frailties and fallen natures makes us vulnerable to lapses in our judgement and a weakness in our will. But He again has provided for us through Confession and penance to atone for our sins and to mend our relationship once again.

So we have all the freedom in the world though we must decide if the freedoms we desire are good for us, good for our souls, good for the nation, good for humankind and especially if it is in accord with the Will of God which He has given us. For within His freedom even mortal death no longer frightens us but becomes a door which leads to Our Beloved Lord; Whom we expectantly hope to see face to face. A consummation of that love which we started here on earth and which is perfected should we be worthy enough to find ourselves with a place Heaven.

Mostly, the only freedom we need to cherish above all is the freedom to Love God and to worship and adore Him and to try our best to please Him. All other freedom is temporal and has no long term meaning. It is but a blink of an eye to our eternal soul. God’s freedom is eternal and guarantees the completion and fulfillment of our total happiness. What else can we look forward to with as much delight and enthusiasm? For Christ is our final end for which this life was given us.

Semper reformanda

Over the past few weeks I have been thinking about the direction of my spiritual life and the direction of the Church, a process sharpened by the news of the scandals in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh. Having a little experience among Charismatics and Pentecostals, I also scan material labelled as “prophetic” on a regular basis. That is not to say that I accept everything I read; but neither do I reject revelations out of hand. Recently, I have also taken to listening to the “Anglican Unscripted” series on YouTube, which focusses on problems in the Anglican Communion. My overall sense is that this is a time of change for all denominations.

The widespread endorsement of the modern -isms among the Anglican hierarchy puts me at odds with the establishment. For that reason, I am in sympathy with the GAFCON movement, but I see little chance of it making inroads in the UK. So many Anglicans have already left the Church of England, many becoming Catholics, others joining Orthodoxy, and a few have gone to the dissenting Protestant churches. Lutheranism has little presence in the UK, so there is no real liturgical Protestant option for those who want that experience outside of the Church of England.

I genuinely believe that God will do a great work of reformation in this country, but what the end results will be is hard to say. “Come out of her My people!” The meaning of this verse in its original context may be quite different from its use as a rallying cry for independent churches – nevertheless, that rallying cry has an effect. Unity is important in the Church, and while there are advantages to having clear denominations, centred on specific doctrinal positions, the overall appearance of a divided Church is a source of sadness for Christians and scorn among outsiders.

I very much believe in building the content of faith from the ground up. The chains of tradition can be a hindrance to this position, and that is why I will never formally join a church that takes an ultra-traditionalist line. Reformation is a way of life for me, not merely a point in Church history. While I disagree with individual conclusions of particular Reformers, I take their spirit with me. This should not be confused with the idea of change for the sake of change; rather, I believe it to be an intellectual virtue. We should be always seeking for Truth and willing to let things go that hinder us on the road. I remain a Protestant not because I am specifically Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, or Reformed, but simply because I cannot conform myself to the fundamental positions of Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

Going forward, I believe all Christians will need to examine their fundamental positions in the light of what they are hearing from hierarchies in the various churches. A valuable lesson I have taken from the work of Von Mises, the Austrian economist, is that everything is a choice. Those who hold the traditionalist line against the Vatican establishment, those who hold Benedict XVI to be the true Pope, are making intellectual choices. We must all choose.

The Pennsylvania Priest Scandal; an Outside View

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Perhaps it is time for me to say something about the scandal rocking the Catholic church. Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread, I suspect. My perspective is different, being a conservative, liturgical Protestant, a Lutheran, as it were.

First, a few caveats:

  • We have only a report from a grand jury, in one state, Pennsylvania. We do not have indictments, let alone convictions. Will they come? That remains to be seen. But there is enough smoke here for all the wildfires in California. Surely the other states, and yes, Europe as well should be looking into this. But it is not yet time to build the gallows.
  • However bad it may be, and it appears to be bad, indeed, it remains a small share of the clergy. Do not condemn with a 12″ roller when a trim brush is wide enough.
  • But to condemn and punish is not enough, why did this happen, and mind, this is not the first sex scandal in the Church. How to avoid it in the future is the key thing here. In a sense, the past really is prologue.

As I said above, I’m a Lutheran, one of the causes that led Luther to start the Reformation was the sexual conduct of priests in Rome. So it would be easy for me to say, more of the same. That’s a poor attitude, much as it’s a common one these days.

But Rome is the root of Christianity in the west, whether one is Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Baptist, or whatever else. That is where we all started, and but for the Grace of God, it could be (and sometimes has been) any of our churches.

Anybody remember Jimmy Swaggart? Yeah, didn’t do Christianity a lot of good, did he? How about Rev. Tom Bird, a Kansas Lutheran pastor who killed his wife when she became inconvenient to his affair with the church secretary. There are others, big and small. We are all fallen sinners, we can only try. And that’s why we need to weed out these things. And both of those examples, and others, were, they went to prison, as they should.

Matt Walsh, a Catholic, and a columnist for The Daily Wire said with characteristic bluntness…

The Catholic Church in the West is beset by a plague. An infection. A virus that must be rooted out and utterly destroyed. There must be a purge in the Church. And the purge must be ruthless and brutal and uncompromising.

Indeed so, and it must include the hierarchy that covered up the instances. In the examples above, there was little to no cover-up, and no lasting damage was done. As so often, it’s not the crime but the coverup.

He has a point, I suspect. Kim Hirsch, an LCMS Lutheran writes on Victory Girls Blog,

Many years ago, I read a book entitled, Goodbye, Good MenWritten in 2002 by Michael Rose, a Catholic reporter, it tells how these scandals come from the seminary, where liberals in the church have allowed homosexuality in the name of “tolerance.” There is also prejudice, he maintains, against traditional seminaries.

Here’s what Rose said in an interview with a Catholic publication in 2002:

In bringing the “sexual revolution” into the Church, liberals have welcomed—even preferred—radicalized active homosexuals to orthodox seminarians in the name of “tolerance.” Now that tolerance has been exposed as a toleration of criminal acts.

Mind you, this book is now 16 years old, and we’re seeing yet again another sexual scandal. The crisis will not go away.

Maybe, one of the underlying problems, since this is predominately a Catholic problem, is the celibate priesthood itself, combined with clericalism, of course.

Father Richard McBrien, who was a professor of theology at Notre Dame, believed the church should drop the celibacy requirement for priests. In 2004, he wrote why it’s a problem:

But that requirement of the priesthood will attract a disproportionately high percentage of men who are sexually dysfunctional, sexually immature, or whose orientation will raise the question – are they attracted to the priesthood because of the ministry, or because it is a profession that forbids one to be married?

And there is something else, most of these are young men, and do any of us really think young men do not run on hormones, and those drawn to leadership, more than most?

I don’t know, and as the saying goes, not my church, but some thoughts for you Catholics to mull over, which is my main purpose here. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, but do think why this is so much a specific problem in your church. Part of it is a powerful, traditional hierarchy, as well, I suspect, but the CofE has that as well. It appears to be a distinctive of, and a distinctive problem for, the Catholic Church.

And pray, of course, as we will be praying for your Church as well as our own.

Rod Dreher on Issues etc. Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal.

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One of the points that I was revealing to me in this particular interview was Dreher’s story of catching up a reporter on the sex abuse scandal of 2002. He began to explain to the reporter that much of what has led to this secrecy within the Episcopate was Homosexuality. The reporter, from FoxNews, informed Dreher that they had been instructed by the higher-ups not to address those issues within the context of the entire story.

How can people ever begin to know the truth and seek justice unless we explore every possible avenue!

Listen to the entire interview: http://issuesetc.org/2018/08/16/2281-the-sexual-abuse-crisis-in-the-roman-catholic-church-rod-dreher-8-16-18/

Petition for Cardinal Wuerl’s resignation

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To: Cardinal Wuerl CC: Pope Francis

Your Eminence,

Your many actions as bishop of Pittsburgh, thoroughly documented in the Pennsylvania grand jury report, are deplorable.

You covered up sexual abuse and shuffled predatory priests between parishes, endangering children’s safety.

You failed in your duty as a shepherd. The human cost of your actions and inaction – lives ruined, faith destroyed – is incalculable.

I call on you to resign as Archbishop of Washington immediately.

This scandal has irreparably marred your episcopate. Step aside so the victims of the priests you oversaw – and the Church – can begin to heal.

In Christ,

[The undersigned]

Sign it at: https://lifepetitions.com/petition/cardinal-wuerl-resign

The Catholic Bishops: When It’s Time to Call the Police | The Stream

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n case you’ve been in a coma … you might want to go back under. At least if you’re Catholic. Because the awful news just keeps rolling in.

The latest is the news out of Pennsylvania, where the Attorney General did what his colleagues should have started doing in 2002. He launched a criminal investigation into sex abuse among local clergy. They turned up some 300 abusive priests and more than 1,000 victims, over several decades. As Sohrab Ahmari has written, some of the crimes seem lifted straight from the pages of the Marquis de Sade.

More crucially, his grand jury demanded and got thousands of pages of internal church documents. They revealed the response of almost every bishop involved. It boiled down to the following:

  1. Avoid publicity. Keep the victims quiet, and away from the public authorities. If need be, run out the clock on the statute of limitations, so predators beat the rap. While NOT implicated in cover-ups (bravo!), Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput did twist the arms of local Catholic politicians to keep that statute of limitations short. The Guardian reported that he attacked one lawmaker by name in that Catholic’s own parish bulletin, to shame him into compliance.
  2. Treat the offending priests as sick, not sinful. Move them around and keep their crimes a secret from parishioners and police. Send them for brief stays at pro-gay psychological spas (“treatment centers”), then send them back into parishes and schools. When one of them impregnates a teenage girl and arranges for her abortion, send him a sympathetic note — as if his pet toucan bird had died. Then assign him to another parish. (This last gem of Christian witness came from the loudly conservative, pro-Latin Mass Bishop James Timlin, one of the worst cover-up artists.)
  3. Do whatever it takes to keep the secret. One of the worst was Cardinal Wuerl — the current Cardinal Archbishop of our nation’s capital, then the bishop of Pittsburgh — paying a permanent income to a priest addicted to kiddie porn.

One Down, Forty-Nine More States to Go

In other words, little changed in Pennsylvania after the storm of 2002. Makes you wonder about the other 49 states, doesn’t it? Especially since it emerged that many leading prelates either provably knew (Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston) or had to know (Vatican Cardinal Kevin Farrell) about the sex abuse committed by the last Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal “Uncle Ted” McCarrick. That included molesting a boy he had baptized as an infant. Both Wuerl and McCarrick served as sponsors of Cardinal Farrell, Cardinal Blaise Cupich of Chicago, and Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark — all left-leaning acolytes of Pope Francis. (Indeed, Francis appointed Wuerl as one of the lead voices in picking U.S. bishops.) Count on them to vote in the next conclave for a pope made in his image.

In turn, Pope Francis’ own record on dealing with sex abuse (for instance in Chile) isn’t pretty. Neither is the record of “vice-pope” Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga of Honduras. The auxiliary bishop he handpicked had to resign after sexually abusing seminarians, and dozens of other seminarians have come forth to complain that their school is dominated by a homosexual network. Maradiaga has taken no action to fix it.

And what can we say about Pope Francis’ biggest booster before his election as pope, Cardinal Godfried Danneels of Belgium? As I wrote here in 2015:

Danneels … presided over one of the worst priestly sex abuse scandals in Europe, whose cover-up was so extensive that it led to Belgian police searching a bishop’s palace and even opening a bishop’s grave to search for evidence.

The Spectator (U.K.) cites transcripts of a meeting where Danneels was caught on tape urging the victim to stay silent about [his] abuse, after which he “suggested that the victim should seek forgiveness — and accused the man of attempted blackmail when he demanded that Danneels should tell Pope Benedict XVI about the abuse.”

Danneels was in disgrace after these scandals. But Pope Francis rehabilitated him in the most public way, inviting him from retirement to address all the bishops of the world at the Vatican Family Synod.

Will an Uprising of Laymen Make a Difference?

What’s a Catholic to do at a time like this? I’ve suggested financial boycotts.

But that won’t be enough. As the fearless Church Militant has documented, some 40% of the bishops’ revenue doesn’t even come from the Catholic faithful. It’s taxpayer money, funneled through federal contracts with non-profits such as Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services. Most of that cash comes via services to immigrants and refugees.

Michael Brendan Dougherty at National Review wrote a powerful essay, where he pointed out that if the church won’t police itself, Caesar will step in and take over.

The Attorneys General of the other 49 states in the Union must launch similar, searching investigations of the church. Don’t worry anymore about losing “the Catholic vote.” On the contrary, you’d be doing us a favor and we’ll remember it at the polls.

I saw that happen first hand in New Hampshire. Its then-bishop John McCormack conspired in the Boston sex abuse cover-up, before reaping his reward — a diocese of his own. The state district attorney considered prosecuting McCormack. The bishop bought him off by striking a deal: the AG’s office would review and approve every appointment of every priest in the state. So a secular state where abortion was legal was the ultimate authority over the Church. And we Catholics were glad of that! McCormack enjoyed his bishop’s palace, issued loud statements in defense of leftist, pro-choice labor unions, and sold off parish after parish to pay his settlements. I’ll never forget driving up to a beautiful Gothic building, put up by Polish immigrants pooling their pennies. I was hoping to go to confession. The church had been turned into condos.

Giving Caesar His Due

It is long past time for Caesar to use his blunt instruments to fix this. The bishops can’t. (Though they’ve announced yet another commission to address it.) Too many of them are likely implicated. The Vatican won’t. Too many of its allies would fall like dominoes. Expect more hand-wringing statements in public — and frenzied butt-covering in private.

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Time now for every citizen to demand that justice be done. If the bishops don’t act decisively to solve this problem, then something like the following should happen, if possible. (I’m no lawyer.)

  • The Attorneys General of the other 49 states in the Union should launch similar, searching investigations. Don’t worry anymore about losing “the Catholic vote.” On the contrary, you’d be doing us a favor and we’ll remember it at the polls.
  • The U.S. Justice Department should weigh the evidence turned up by such probes to see if RICO charges would fit the bishops who conspired to keep abusers’ crimes secret.
  • Voters should ask their representatives in Congress to redirect federal contracts away from Catholic non-profits connected with bishops, thus depriving them of hush money. (Catholics, remember that all such money gets used for exclusively secular purposes, by law. So the explosion of federal funding has almost completely secularized once-Catholic ministries.) Take away that mess of pottage.
  • Voters should insist on enforcing our borders and building a Wall. American bishops for too long have told U.S. Catholics that “immigrants are the church’s future.” By that they mean that they’ve given up on those of us who are already here. They know that 40% of native-born Catholics leave the church. And they know they can replace us with Catholic immigrants from lands with better bishops. Cut off this human subsidy and force them to face the truth.

More on My Podcast

I have much more to say about the sex abuse crisis and our response in my interview with Stream columnist Jason Jones for his new podcast. Be sure to subscribe. It’s fantastic every week.

For my part, I’m not sure these measures will improve the bishops’ behavior much. For that to happen, at least one bishop complicit in protecting sex abusers needs to go to prison. And for a good long time. Instead of a cozy retirement in a palace with a pension and Cadillac health care, as McCarrick and his ilk all now enjoy.

But for that, we need the help of Caesar. Let us render to him, finally, what is Caesar’s.

THE STREAM

Bishop Paprocki calls for a lay investigator and committee of primarily​ the laity to stop clergy​ sexual misconduct.

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Bishop Paprocki does call for this investigator and committee to be led by the laity, but as he says his view is for those names to be sent to the Pope for the removal of Bishops, it is still within this culture of clericalism that the those in the Church who call for action still operate with the Church and outside of the secular law. It stops short of what absolutely needs to be done; the investigator and committee need to provide names and evidence to the secular judicial system to arrest, to try, and to send to prison any citizen, whether it be a member of the clergy, for breaking both secular and divine laws.

I urge every Catholic to demand a different approach from the leadership of the Church. And let’s face it, the only power the laity has is the power of the purse. So, if the USCCB is still unwillingly to do what is needed, and it still appears to be the case, do not give one penny to any parish or diocese. Donate your funds to self-sufficient apostalates instead. It has to be a complete and utter shock to the Bishops that we will take no more.

Demand it! Stop posting normal Catholic posts, actually DO something, write a letter, stop your offerings, request meetings with priests and bishops. If you hear something that’s wrong in a meeting or even a homily–say something!

“A voice of one crying in the desert: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. ” Mk 1:3

‘Look not upon me’: thoughts on the abuse crisis| LMS Chairman

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‘Look not upon me’, says the Beloved, the Church. ‘For the sun hath looked upon me.’ Labouring in the vineyard has darkened her skin; she is conscious that her beauty is hidden. She says: ‘I am black but beautiful’. (Song of Songs, 1:5, 4)

Christ also, the spotless Lamb, was disfigured, by his enemies. Isaiah says of Him in prophecy: ‘there is no beauty in him, nor comeliness: and we have seen him, and there was no sightliness, that we should be desirous of him’ (Is 53:2). But again, Christ’s beauty is hidden, rather than lost.

What has happened to the Church in the last 50 years and more is a disfigurement, a disgrace. Like the Beloved of the Song of Songs, the Church has been cast out of doors without her veil:

‘The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.’ (Song 5:7)

The defilement of the Church is real in one sense, and only apparent in another. As a human institution she can be wounded and shamed. As a divine institution she cannot. She is both human and divine, a mirror of Christ, who in His humanity truly suffered and died. This suffering was not unreal or superficial: the betrayal, the stripping naked, the being spat upon, the being tortured and killed. It is profoundly real and of the greatest significance. And yet Christ in his Divine nature, and the Church as the Mystical Body and Bride of Christ, is not defiled: such a thing is impossible. She remains beautiful, though blackened.

This paradox is the consequence of the Incarnation, and the way the Incarnation is continued in the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ. Something with a physical, personal, human manifestation in the world is susceptible to attack, wounding, and disgrace. You can’t have an incarnational theology without this consequence.

One might object that, in the case of the Church, the most important wounds are self-inflicted. However, it is not the Mystical Body as such which causes the wounds; it is her human members when they fail to act as members. When we engage in the Public Prayer of the Church we act as one with the Mystical Body and offer to God a perfect act of Worship which only the Mystical Body of Christ, that is, only Christ Himself, can offer. When we (bishops, priests, laymen) perform sacramental actions, it is the action of Christ through his Mystical Body. When we commit some hideous sacrilege it is not. It is a wound we give to the Mystical Body, against the Mystical Body.

The Mystical Body is not a pure, spiritual thing which can only be seen with the eyes of Faith. It has a real, human, historical, manifestation. This manifestation can make it as vulnerable to profanation as the manifestation of the Body of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. But while those who profane the Blessed Sacrament do something serious, because Christ is truly present there, they do not harm Christ. At the Last Judgement, when wicked Catholics, including priests, bishops, and popes, are tossed into Hell, the Church, as the Bride of Christ, will be presented to her Lord as a spotless virgin (2 Corinthians 11:2).

The relationship between Christ’s Divine and Human natures is, notoriously, not easy to explain: it is a mystery. That is, we can understand a number of things about it, things we must say and things we must deny about it, but we cannot fully grasp its internal logic. The same is true of the relationship between the human and divine aspects of the Church. I must leave it as something of a paradox. But it is paradox we must believe.

What we believe about the Church has the consequence that we are right to be angry, as well as bitterly grieved, about the clerical abuse revelations. This anger is not simply a justified emotional reaction, it is a duty. Anger is a desire for justice, and we must do what we can to secure justice in this case. This may well mean being less polite than we were wont to be, less inclined to overlook things, less generous with our money and volunteering: in a careful, systematic, persistent, and thought-through way.

What is not right would be to take the occasion to doubt the Church’s divine institution. The good works of the Church’s members, it is true, might be a consideration in her favour, and evil works obviously count the other way. However, the Church’s divine nature is manifested above all in the liturgy, the sacraments, and the perennial teaching which is guided by the Holy Spirit. My Catholic readers know what I mean when I say that as Catholics we know this deep down. We have experienced the consolation of the liturgy. We have experienced Christ’s forgiveness in confession. We know that the Real Presence is not make-believe: it is a supernatural fact that impinges insistently on the material world, in our lives, and in the lives of others. We cannot let the defilement of the Mystical Body lead us to doubt the purity of the Mystical Body, odd as that might seem. The Satanist who defiles the Blessed Sacrament does not make it less holy. His actions are, in fact, a testimony to that holiness, which he recognises and hates.

Satanists hate holy things because they have turned away from God and are enraged by the concrete possibility of goodness which they have rejected. They wish to tear it down to their own level of filthiness. It is said that paedophiles feel similarly about the innocence of children. Today’s focus is on the bishop-enablers. What were they thinking? Certainly they were not motivated by reverence and love for what is holy and for the innocent. The crushing worldliness of the episcopal attitude, the managerialism, is striking, but it does not explain actions which were often irrational and self-defeating from a worldly point of view. Those who see something demonic here are correct. What we see is a brutal carelessness, of brushing things aside, which reflects a rejection of the categories of holiness and innocence. They may have thought they believed the Faith, some of them, but at some level they did not. Not just in moments of high emotion, not just under intense temptation, but calmly, deliberately, day after day, year after year, in case after case, they rejected celibacy, they rejected the holiness of the sacraments, and they crushed innocence in the mortar.

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