Tuesday, April 30, 2002

"The greatest cause of Atheism in the world today is Christians. Who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, and walk out the door and deny him with their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable." - Brennan Manning (made popular by DC Talk).

I'm sure Brennan Manning is shaking his head at the current Catholic Church scandal and saying to himself "Well, there's a few more atheists we have to defend Christianity against now." Which of course forces us to expand our categorization of the meaning of "victim" in this entire sordid affair (excuse the pun).

It goes without mention (or at least it should) that the countless hundreds if not thousands of victims of these demented priests are the most directly involved victims, and this also includes immediate family (mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters). However, the victimization does not stop there. What has happened in this scandal is that the Church has suffered what some would consider irrepairable damage to its "image". In a world that values it's fog of hedonism, the Church stood like a lighthouse, a light to the nations. However it appears that that light has dimmed somewhat. Instead of pointing out the wrongs of the world, the Church must now endure it's newly appointed label of "hypocrite" and one wonders if this scandal will diminish the voice of the Church in many matters, especially those involving sexuality (such as abortion, birth control, and homosexuality issues).

This damaging of the image of the Church will cut deep. I'm also afraid that this wound will hurt Catholic apostolates and missions which rely on the donations of good people. Will Catholic Charities see a decrease in donations, which will cut into their ability to help people in need? Will the St. Vincent de Paul Society also see donations dwindle? If so, we can add those who would otherwise benefit from the generosity of these two organizations to the list of victims from this scandal.

What about the voice of the Church in other areas of social justice? Say for instance that innocent man on death row who could have used the voice of the Church to speak up on his behalf? What about the repressed peoples of maniacal dictatorships which turned to the Church as a comforter? What about the millions of unborn that need the Vatican to continue to run interference against the Margaret Sanger-esque attempts of the United Nations to pawn off abortion and birth control (maybe even force it) upon the women of third world nations?

Exactly how large will the list of victims grow?

People say the blame ultimately rests on the shoulders of the bishops, and while I can buy that argument to an extent, people are responsible for their own actions. I wonder if Mr. Shanley ever considered the entire scope of victims he would create by using the priesthood as his own sexual playground? It is the likes of people like him that have caused most of the damage. If we could keep such people out of our priesthood to begin with, our bishops and archbishops wouldn't have to deal with creeps like them in the first place.

So, how to do it? Obedience, obedience and obedience. The unorthodox, the perverted, the sadistic are not obedient, they cannot be obedient. They must indulge in satisfying their urges. Those urges conflict with Catholic teaching. If we stick to the teachings of the Church (ie: stay Orthodox) and demand our priests to be orthodox as well, those who are disobedient will wind up giving themselves up almost immediately.

Is asking our clergy to be orthodox really too much to ask?

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