Why be Catholic in the midst of scandal?

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10 thoughts on “Why be Catholic in the midst of scandal?”

  1. 1. We remind ourselves and others that we are not Catholic because of a particular priest, bishop, cardinal or pope, but, because of Jesus Christs’ Present in the Holy Eucharist. We, the baptized, are the church.
    2. There are many more good priests that work hard every day to be Christ to the people. The choices of a few do not define the whole. We are all broken.
    3. We are holding a parish prayer service and listening session next Wednesday.

  2. Nick and Diana:
    Thank you for this timely article. The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown has been hit hard for three years in the public media as we should be. But the ongoing presence of Catechumens and Candidates (although smaller groups) at the Rite of Election and Enrollment of Names and Welcoming the Candidates in to Continuing Conversion at our Cathedrals has given us hope that faith in the Catholic Church is ongoing by the grace of God.

    We are having regional meetings with our directors and teams for acknowledgement and conversation
    to support each other in our efforts to evangelize and welcome new members as we build up the Body of Christ, the Church.

  3. I strongly agree with this article and with the two comments already posted. We do need to remind each other that we were baptized into Christ, not into an institution. Also, we who are lay people need to remind ourselves over and over again that we are the Church., not just the clergy, not just the bishops, but all of us who are baptized.

    One thing I’d like to hear more about is how we can reform a culture that has allowed such terrible abuse. My diocese is now following procedures that were instituted in the early 2000’s and updated more recently.

    But the clerical culture still seems to be with us. What do we do? A letter writing campaign? Something else?

    I do believe that any bishop still serving who covered up abuse in the past, needs to resign immediately. But who will enforce this. Will it come up at the bishops’ November meeting?

    And–here’s where we can all be helpful–is the way the Church speaks about human sexuality part of the problem? We can all think about this one.

  4. Nick, thank you for opening discussion on this failure of the Church. Like elsewhere in the world, the Body of Christ in Australia is also hurting deeply as the recent Australian Royal Commission in Sexual Abuse in Institutions exposed the lies and cover-ups by those who were meant to be leading and shepherding the faithful flock in our country.

    For true, deep and meaningful sorrow to enable reconciliation with those abused by members of the Body of Christ, we should demand that each bishop fully declare all known current and historical perpetrators within his diocese, no matter how painful this will be for some members of the Body who will struggle to accept some of those named. It is only by knowing the full depth of the abuse sin within each diocese that we, as the Body of Christ, can seek out the forgiveness of all the victims, not just some of them. In doing this, if the Church (individual dioceses, bishops, religious orders) faces legal and financial penalties, then so-be-it, we must accept that as part of the forgiveness process. Until we, the Body of Christ, expose every perpetrator and redress every victim we will face the constant accusation that we are still trying to cover up and/or protect assets.

    As the Body of Christ, we must now be Christ-like and do as He would do, move the focus to the victims and their needs. I urge each member of the Body of Christ to take this up with your local bishop, it’s time to be Christ-like and speak up. Sadly, until our bishops show strong and decisive leadership to seek the forgiveness of the victims and send the same message to the remainder of the Body of Christ, we will continue to lack credibility in our claim to be followers of Christ.

  5. “at the service of the common priesthood” (CCC 1547). All of us submit ourselves not to the institution of the church but to the Person of Jesus Christ. All of us fail to live up to our baptismal promises. Ministerial priests are not preserved from error by their ordination. They sometimes act in ways “that are not always signs of fidelity to the Gospel and consequently can harm the apostolic fruitfulness of the Church” (CCC 1550). Very true statements. But all of us have not been ordained. Those that have been ordained and are knowingly living a lie, living in sin, to themselves, to there perishes, to God, what does this say about their priestly service. Can they actually be the person of Christ at the altar? Is the bread and wine actually transformed into the body and blood of our Lord? Or, is the entire assembly separated from the real presence. Have we in communion fallen together. And what of all the other sacraments that a fallen priest has administered? Baptism, confirmation, blessings….

    1. I understand that the validity of the sacrament remains unless the presider in question had been ex-communicated or left the church. All of us ( including the priest ) are receiving possibly in the state of venial sin…not all in state of perfect grace.

      1. Agreed, we are all not in a state of prefect grace, no question there. But, we as receivers of the sacraments have not been ordained nor do we call on the Holy Spirit at the altar to “make these gifts holy”

  6. Edward Francis Horski

    I have heard this rationale many times as this deep wound bleeds, and I do not buy it in our current situation at all as very helpful toward moving forward, or for an apologetic of almost any sort now. Such a train of thought and theology is essentially the old argument about the power and validity of the sacraments and church stuff in general being separate from the role of the humans, i.e., the clergy specifically. In the Latin maxim it goes “ex opere operato Christi” (‘from the work worked of/by Christ’). In common practice, this logic has never been applied to the faithful who, contrary to the maxim, must be “properly disposed” to participate while the clergy need not be to celebrate or preside. This in itself seems to be an indication of what’s at work here, namely, clericalism, which gives us at least two different standards within the life of the Church according to your status.

    And today we are seeing the long-term affect of this very train of thought and theology operating and playing out in a church culture of abusive power and clericalism that we have reached a critical and epidemic mass so that few of us can ignore or recover from this by using any of teh old patterns, solutions, rationale . There has happened an ecclesial disconnect. The worst of the abuse of powerin our church is the sexual abuse of children and the vulnerable/powerless. Many other forms of abuse of power go unchecked as a ripple effect.

    Let’s just stop it. We need to start all over again together as the whole Church with honesty and healing for those who suffered, and a renewed theology of hope, a real empowered role of the laity, the priesthood involving more laity in their call and formation, and as someone has mentioned, coming to terms with being sexual creatures in honest healthy ways in our church. If we do not reform radically, in my opinion, and those are just some ideas, then there is hardly any reason to invite people to become Catholic Christian when we have at the core a corrupt power system that is so ingrained and essential to being Catholic.

    Let me put it bluntly this way, if dad came home with this sort of madness and sickness, we would not be arguing about how the nature of fatherhood and manhood is still valuable even so, ‘ex opere operato.’ We would be looking for real help and hoping for forgiveness and reconciliation and working toward it without falling into co-dependency, we should hope.

    There will be another “Silent Reformation” if we (the whole People of God and not just the clergy and hierarchy) fail together to make radical changes that are hopeful and truly loving. And this reformation will likely include extra-ecclesial traditions developing in the next decades, including ones that will idealistically harken back to pre-Vatican II as some sort of utopia.

    1. I’m not arguing with you over the abuse situation and need for reform. I’m simply saying I don’t know the state of the priests’ soul when he’s offering communion, nor does he necessarily know mine.But the Sacrament I receive is still valid. I go for Christ, not for the priest.

      1. Hi Donna, I made a mistake and some how replied to you as well as just leaving a general opinion…which is what I meant to do. Sorry about that.

        BY the way I think you are right. None of us live up to being at his table, and neither is it a ‘worthiness contest’ as Fr. Rohr says pointing out some of our attitudes toward Eucharist.

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