What an easy way the forces of Hell have found to bring down good priests and bishops. First, through agents and for decades undermine the Church’s identity through dreadful preaching and worse liturgy. Then, as society swirls on its parallel trajectory downward, through a twisted education system flood young brains with no real information, confused messages about sex, and no training in how to think. Pour on like gravy constant distraction through little screens and immodesty, etc. STRIKE! Make false accusations and, like a scythe, you can cut down the priests that stand between you and souls.
I know men who have been falsely accused of things and their bishops, surely under the thumbs of lawyers and insurance companies (The Real Bosses), they throw these men to the wolves and usually without following the Church’s laws. They act in a purely secular mode. And with every injustice perpetrated, the Enemy gains that much more ground.
A priest friend sent this for my perusal and I share it with you. My emphases and comments.
From the editorial board of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette:
For decades, the Catholic Church operated as a victimizer, [No, not “the Catholic Church”, but some leaders of the Church.] nurturing and sheltering a systemic and hierarchical cover-up of rampant sexual abuse.
Today, victimization continues, though the profile of the victims and the nature of the victimization changed.
In an effort to present a penitent affect for its past sins, the church is combining its “zero tolerance” and its zeal for “transparency” to victimize its foot soldiers of the faith — priests. In 20 years, we will look back and see this not as a right course adjustment but as overcompensation, the proverbial pendulum swinging too far.
It may be a climb too steep to find public sympathy for the men who wear the collar since the public release last year of a state grand jury report that disclosed soul-shattering priestly abuse of the faithful, many of them children.
But it must not be forgotten that the blame is shared by the enabler: The church, as an organization, a bureaucracy. [People in organizations commit sins and crimes. Not organizations.]
At least equally heinous as the widespread priest abuse was the revelation of complicity by the church itself, [again] which, through action and inaction, facilitated the abuse by passing accused priests from parish to parish and by locking away in dusty files the accusations instead of forwarding them to proper investigative authorities. Earthly justice was stolen.
So many sins. So much to atone for.
But the church’s would-be atonement has gone off the rails.
The new protocol is this: An accusation is made. A press release is issued. A name is ruined.
In recent months, a diocesan news release was issued about a deceased bishop who was accused once, decades ago, of “inappropriately touching” an adult woman. It was the one and only accusation made against the bishop, who died six years ago.
In recent days, another diocesan news release was issued about a local elderly priest who, while he was a seminarian (barely an adult, himself), did something (we don’t know what, except the news release noted it was not sexual in nature) that was “inappropriate” with a minor. The priest admitted the truth of the accusation. He was stripped of his right to celebrate the Mass (zero tolerance at work) and his name (and his shame) were released to the public in the interests of “transparency.” [And Satan smiles.]
This is adding sin to sin. In addition to violating human rights the church is violating civil rights. In addition to ignoring sexual abuse, due process is being sacrificed.
In the population of priests, there are good guys and very good guys; bad guys and very bad guys. But the institutional church enabled abuse and now violates ancient norms of fairness for the sake of a PR bump.
We expect and want more from the church. Rather than sacrificial lambs and public pantomimes of atonement, we want real recompense — judicious weighing of facts, decisions rooted in morality, genuine catharsis. We want more from the church than the right pose. We want due process, mercy and justice.
What are the odds?