The Catholic Church hierarchy continues to shoot itself in its collective foot (or should that be feet?) on a regular basis.
Pope Francis accepted the resignation of the Bishop of São José do Rio Preto on Wednesday, five days after a sexually explicit video of the bishop was shared on the internet.
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On Aug. 13, a minute-long video of Bishop Ferreira da Silva on a video call with another man began making the rounds on social media. In the video the bishop, wearing a striped polo shirt, is seen masturbating.
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Bishop Ferreira da Silva reportedly told the Brazilian network Globo that he is the person in the video, and he believed that its release was an act of revenge porn by someone with whom he lives. He told Brazilian media that he would be speaking to his attorney as well as Brazil’s state police force to determine how the video was released.
This is not Bishop Ferreira da Silva’s first brush with controversy, and he has been investigated multiple times by the Vatican for alleged sexual misconduct or for covering up sexual misconduct.
There’s more at the link.
If there were previous incidents involving this Bishop, why the heck didn’t his fellow Bishops in Brazil insist that he step down or be moved aside while a more thorough investigation was done? Why did it take a revenge porn video (if that’s what it was) to have him removed? For that matter, why did the Vatican not act more swiftly or more decisively, given such a history? How many more Brazilian Bishops – and their clergy – are complicit in this sort of behavior?
The hierarchy of the Catholic Church have ducked, and dived, and weaseled their way out of doing something concrete about this sort of behavior for decades (probably for a lot longer than that, if truth be told). In tolerating that, the Catholic Church as a whole has abdicated its moral authority. It can no longer condemn anything as immoral, because it has become immoral in itself – at least, from a human perspective. Theologically, Christ is not and can never be immoral, but the human side of the Church has grown rather too fond of proclaiming that as some sort of excuse for its own collective fallibility.
Faithful Catholics who are trying to live a life of Biblical, traditional morality have my entire sympathy. I know full well the betrayal they feel when they read reports like this, because I was betrayed as well.
May Almighty God have mercy on his wounded, sinful church, and rebuild her according to His will. I suspect another, and more thorough, Temple cleansing may have to be involved. As for those who have betrayed her, and reduced her to this state . . . yes, I’ll even pray for forgiveness for them too, because I have enough on my conscience that I’ll need forgiveness just as much (albeit for different sins). I’m just not sure how effective my prayers will be in their case, because I see no sign of repentance. When a disgraced cleric blames “revenge porn” instead of acknowledging his own guilt, it speaks volumes.