I’ve hoped against hope, ever since my own crisis of conscience back in 2005, to learn that the Catholic Church has taken meaningful action to clean up its Augean stables of clergy sex problems. Tragically, that hope has been in vain. Many new scandals have rocked the Church over the past few months.
CNS News recently reported: “Vatican Cardinal’s Secretary Arrested for Hosting ‘Cocaine Fueled’ Homosexual Orgy Near St. Peter’s“. This is a particularly disturbing report, as the senior priest concerned is said to have been recently recommended for promotion to Bishop. He also allegedly used a vehicle with Vatican diplomatic license plates to smuggle cocaine into the Vatican to fuel his orgies. (It’s not surprising that homosexuality is encountered in the Vatican, of course. Back in 2013, Vanity Fair ran an in-depth exposé about it, and a year later, a former commander of the Pope’s Swiss Guard claimed that there was a “gay network” in the Vatican.)
A major sex scandal erupted last year on Guam, where a former Archbishop and many priests have been implicated in the abuse of children and teenagers. The scandal has only grown since then. What’s more, allegations of uncanonical practices and misuse of donated funds have led to even more problems for the Guam archdiocese, making it more difficult to focus on the sex scandal and deal with it as it deserves.
A couple of weeks ago, a priest was recalled to the Vatican from that nation’s embassy in Washington DC after he was alleged to have trafficked in child pornography. One presumes that the cleric will face due process in the Vatican . . . but there’s no guarantee of that, of course. After all, some of those most responsible for the child sex abuse crisis in the US Catholic Church have found a form of sanctuary there (for example, Bernard Cardinal Law of Boston).
Internationally, sex scandals have continued to plague the Catholic Church. The head of the Church in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O’Brian, stepped down after being exposed as an abuser – but was not defrocked. It’s been alleged that South America has become a “safe haven” for priests accused of child abuse in other countries, particularly the USA – and that’s without taking into account the home-grown sex scandals afflicting Catholic churches in that continent. Observance of celibacy in the Catholic Church in Africa is conspicuous by its absence in many areas (I can confirm this from personal observation during my travels in that continent). The worldwide list of countries affected by sex scandals in the Catholic church, particularly child sex abuse, is simply staggering.
There may be those who think I’m anti-Catholic by publishing this information. I’m not. I was born and raised Catholic, and I daresay I’ll never change my Catholic outlook on life. However, as I wrote during the height of the Catholic child sex abuse scandal in the USA, my perspective changed when I was asked – no, ordered, as were all priests – to lie to our people about it. I wrote extensively about that dilemma several years ago, and about my response to it.
Tragically, I truly and sincerely believe that most of the “establishment” of the Catholic Church – the cardinals, archbishops, bishops and administrators who run the Church – have no intention whatsoever of taking stronger action to root out immorality and sex abuse of every kind, unless and until they are forced to do so. They see their priority as protecting themselves and the institution of the Church, instead of putting the interests of the people of God first, as they should. They are, I believe, a perfect example of Dr. Jerry Pournelle’s “Iron Law of Bureaucracy“:
Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people:
- First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.
- Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.
The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.
In my opinion, the “Iron Law” perfectly describes the Catholic Church hierarchy today – and perfectly explains why it cannot and will not confront the problems of immorality and sex abuse among its members. That’s truly sickening – and it leaves those of us who believe, out in the cold.
Protestant evangelist Bob Mumford once defined secular humanism as “what you get when the world evangelizes the Church”. I suspect that’s a very accurate description of what’s happened to many of the leaders of the Catholic Church. May God protect us from them . . . and lead them to repentance and conversion, to save their souls from the consequences of their choices.
I respectfully disagree with your belief as stated in part iii
That ending the celibacy requirement is not an answer.
1. The rule has exceptions. Protestant priest already married. Russian sect that follows Rome can marry.
2. Rule is not followed in much of Africa and Asia.
3. It limits the pool for the clergy. Resulting in getting more priests that are more likely to have sex scandals. And not enough priests.
4. Other large Christian groups that allow marriage by the clergy from what I have read, don't have this widespread of sex scandals.
5. Issue of inheritance that celibacy was part of the solution for, is no longer an issue.
This is bringing the church down, in my opinion…
@Old NFO: You and me both . . .
Every normal adult human being makes their own decisions with their own brain. Humans are not ants, humans are not centrally controlled in a hive mind by pheromones. Humans who are followers in a group become accessories if they voluntarily obey and stay silent to hide crime.
Yup, and as the power of the bureaucracy grows, so diminishes the self-cleaning capacity of the organization. The Catholic church needs more Luthers.
What utter BS.
If one is celibate, it does not turn someone into a homo, sex crazed manic, or a pedo.
And yes, Protestant churches do have these scandals, but none of them has (or had) the clout that the RCC did.
And guess what, little johnny or Joanie is more likely to be abused by your government employee at your local school that by a priest.
Well-stated. We agree on everything you said, with only minor quibbles on phrasing, perhaps.
Wish only that you had not bailed out.
Celibacy is not a natural state. One can state, as the RCC does, that is a discipline, but it is one most do not have the gift for. Paul said a lot in a very few words on the matter, but the hierarchy has ignored what he said.
Those denominations that permit clerical marriage do not have the widespread sex scandals the RCC has had. That is not saying that it hasn't happened, it has, but not the extent the RCC has. I refer you to Paul's statement on the matter.
The Church rolls are kept in heaven, not in a church or diocese office. The Church will not be defeated by this sort of nonsense as it isn't "the wheat" that is doing the trash, but "the tares." The system simply isn't at all good in rooting out the tares. The RCC has historically had serious problems with corruption and sin. It is getting harder to find a fellow ship of true believers, but it isn't impossible. But the RCC long ago ceased to be such a fellowship.
@Dad29: It was a choice between "bailing out", as you put it, or being forced (both by circumstances and by pressure from above) to lie to my people, reassuring them that the bishops were doing all they could to solve the problem … when I knew very well that they were not, and that almost all the steps they were very publicly announcing were so much pious window-dressing.
I could not do that.
The problem with celibacy is you have a leadership without families, so lack the visceral "that might be my child!" response.
There was a pretty good book "Good bye Good Men" that came out several years ago and covered the problem quite well. The Church used secular psychologists to interview potential candidates and did not reject homosexual candidates from the get go. It seems the Church was intentionally sabotaged by outsiders or at least by thoughtless people.
After further review…..
There's only one item of disagreement: as B-16 ordered, the RCC should not admit people with homosexual orientation to the seminary. Even if they are pure as the driven snow. B-16 also stated that homosexuality is a 'grave disorder.' Of course, he's being ignored. We'll see how that works out.
Still wish you hadn't bailed. I understand your thought process, but it doesn't change my wish.
@Anony above: Bella Dodd (IIRC), a convert from Communism, told the world in 1954 or so that the Russki Commies were making a point of putting "their men" into seminaries worldwide, with the intention of destroying the Church. No reason to disbelieve her, and every reason to believe that the Commies accomplished their goal. Whether homosexual or heterosexual predators, "liberation theology" wack-jobs, or other assorted termites, ….
Yeah, I still think you miss something with clerical celibacy. As an Eastern Orthodox (and the roman Eastern rites still are not celibate priests) we have a largely married deaconate and priesthood, but a celibate episcopacy. I think it maintains the proper balance. It does also avoid many of the problems that are seen, but not all. You will always have predators whether married or celibate.
Note that the rule is the same though, you must be married before you are ordained to the major orders.
As to whether priests are targeted for seduction by women? I've seen it attempted more than once by deranged women. I was parish secretary for a number of years, and during that time my priest (who was married and had children BTW) was targeted more than once. Even now, our current priest (also married with children) has a glassed office and will not shut the door when he is councilling women so that if things become heated the parish secretary is nearby to overhear and intervene.
I find rather a lot of accuracy in these pieces…sadly.
I am not Catholic but if I were I could not tolerate anything post-Vatican II and likely would be called a Sedevacantist. I feel very sorry for many Catholics lost in the current mire.