Well the report on sexual abuse from 6 Dioceses in PA has hit the press and it is mind boggling to say the least. Over a 1000 children have been sexually abused and over 300 priests were indicated as the perpetrators of this abuse. Cardinal Wuerl was mentioned over 200 times in the report which lays at his feet complicity and the coverup of these crimes when he was in Charge of the Pittsburgh Diocese.
The usual mode of operation in such things as this was prevalent as we all could guess: the code of silence among the knowing, the shell game of moving priests around, the deniability of charges and the sending of these perverts to ‘rehabilitation’ institutions to only be brought back for active ‘service’ to the community. Sound familiar? It should, as we have seen this since the late 90’s and early 2000’s showed us the filth and corruption that has gained control in our Church.
How gullible are we? Very, it seems. Did we think that the Dallas meeting in 2002 had cleaned out the Church and made it nearly impossible for this to happen again? I guess most of us wanted to believe so. Did they ever put in place any directives for themselves or was it all aimed at priests, and those who work with children in the parishes; like the awful VIRTUS program that all catechists must endure in order to teach a classroom of children? Is there any wonder why men no longer are teaching children in most parishes?
And this is only 1 state and only 6 dioceses of that state. How about the other states in the US. How about your own diocese. Isn’t it about time that we get similar reports from every diocese in this country? And not only this country; it needs to be implemented worldwide and especially within the Vatican hierarchy as well. Lets get all the documents out and have them delivered to civil authorities to deal with.
You wonder what the tally of victims would look like then; is it in the 100’s of thousands? There is no telling. But this only counts the victims of sex abuse. It does not include the families and the relatives of these victims or the spiritual abuse that many have suffered at the hands of these same religious predators. How many have left the faith, because they now see the Church as a den of iniquity? Who wants to go to Confession and speak of the most private sins with those whom we harbor doubts about their own predatory lives?
Do parents want to raise their children in such an atmosphere?
In some respects, every single Catholic has been abused and smeared with the filth of these predators. We all walk on egg shells around children now, for fear that someone might think we too are like those predators. God forbid you give a hug to a child who needs one. Best leave a door open and make sure that there is no unsafe touching going on. And if you are tired of your Protestant, agnostic and atheist friends belittling your Church, are you quickly losing your faith and are you contemplating just leaving the Church altogether.
The abuse of the Faithful is not just sexual it is spiritual. And this spiritual abuse is likely to drive many from our parishes and prevent those who were thinking of joining the Church to rethink that decision.
So don’t think that this is an isolated instance and that the implications for the Church is simply temporary. If they do not clean this out and take all the heat at once, it will blow up all over again. And one of the biggest reasons it is likely to blow up again is the fact that almost everyone is blackmail-able to some extent. And in the ranks of power, the powerful know how to use the dirty (not so secret) secrets of their peers to gain more power and prestige. So it is not just the homosexuals or the pedophiles we need to purge but every power hungry prelate that lives by the Code of Silence and perpetuates the blackmail of other priests and bishops for their own gain.
In some ways, we are losing our ability to believe that our prelates are ever going to change their ways. And this loss in our trust and in our hope for returning to the Faith that we like to imagine is possible, is growing ever fainter in our minds.
If you abuse our children, you abuse our trust, you abuse our spirituality and our hope. But most of all you abuse Christ and His Church.