Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

5/9/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Sexual abuse by Catholic clergy needs to be disclosed, exposed, prosecuted and explained. This Pope will do that. He will also address the evil which lies at the root of the problem

The exposure of sexual sin among Catholic clergy is not accidental in its timing. It is a part of a time of purification. Such sexual activity, particularly when forced on a child by one in a position of power - priest, bishop or deacon- is an act of evil in its most heinous form. It constitutes a spiritual plundering and attempt to destroy a soul. It is also criminal - and it should be prosecuted. There have been other times in the history of the Church when the clergy have been corrupted. God always begins His Spring cleaning in His own house. As the Apostle Peter wrote to the Church of the first millennium during another great missionary age: "the time has come for judgment to begin with the House of God." (1 Peter 4:17)

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/9/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: clerical abuse, priest abuse, abusive priests, clergy abuse, sexual abuse, SNAP, survivors network, Pope Francis, purification, the devil, moral crisis, priests abuse, abusive priests, CDF, Deacon Keith Fournier


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - On April 5, 2013, Pope Francis met with Archbishop Gerhard L. Muller, the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). Among the topics discussed was clerical sexual abuse. The new Pope made crystal clear his high regard for the strong approach of his predecessor, Benedict XVI, to confronting this evil. 

He directed Archbishop Muller to continue the zero tolerance approach of Benedict XVI and to "act decisively" against sexual abuse. He charged him to carry out "due proceedings against the guilty." After the meeting the Vatican released a statement which included these directions to the CDF:  

"To act decisively concerning cases of sexual abuse - First of all by promoting measures for the protection of minors, as well as in offering assistance to those who have suffered abuse, carrying out due proceedings against the guilty, and in the commitment of bishops' conferences to formulate and implement the necessary directives in this area that is so important for the Church's witness and credibility."

Sexual abuse by Catholic clergy needs to be disclosed, exposed, prosecuted and explained. This Pope will do that. He will also address the evil which lies at the root of the problem. He has no hesitation addressing and confronting evil, in all of its manifestations. Several of his daily homilies recently reaffirmed that the only way to ultimately overcome evil is through Jesus Christ.

On April 30 he said: "He (Jesus Christ) is the only One who can look into the face of evil and overcome it. The prince of the world comes but can do nothing against me: if we don't want the prince of this world to take the Church into his hands, we must entrust it to the One who can defeat the prince of this world."

On May 5th he proclaimed, "The way of the Christians is the way of Jesus. If we want to be followers of Jesus, there is no other way: none other than that, which He indicated to us - and one of the consequences of this is hatred - it is the hatred of the world, and also the prince of this world.  He ended his comment with this reminder, "There can be no dialogue with the prince of this world: let this be clear!"

When I read reports of sexual abuse committed by Catholic Clergy, I recall the words of Blessed John Paul II on April 23, 2002: "We must be confident that this time of trial will bring a purification of the entire Catholic community, a purification that is urgently needed if the Church is to preach more effectively the Gospel of Jesus Christ in all its liberating force."

He continued, "Now you must ensure that where sin increased, grace will all the more abound (cf. Rom 5:20). So much pain, so much sorrow must lead to a holier priesthood, a holier episcopate, and a holier Church"

We are still in the midst of the necessary cleanup operation. However, great progress is being made. It is important to remember that sexual abuse has been committed by a very small group of Catholic clergy. It must also be seen for what it is, a rejection of, the clear moral teaching of the Catholic Church. The problem is infidelity. The problem is sin. The problem is evil.

Blessed John Paul II labeled the cultural climate that gave us unrestricted abortion, euthanasia, and growing disregard for the dignity of every human person a culture of death. An expression of the culture of death has crept into the sanctuary of the Church.

There is a failure to respect the dignity of every human person because they are human persons, created in the very image of God. Rather than being respected and honored, human persons are treated as commodities to be used and abused.

Rather than being seen as an integral part of the human person, the human body is reduced to a sexual object to be used, abused or molested. This also lies at the root of the sin of pornography as well as the sexual acting out of what is often begun in the heart - in acts that the sacred scripture calls the sins of the flesh.

The late Pope referred to abortion as the cutting edge of this culture of death. It is the most blatant example of the use of another person. We no longer protect our smallest members but rather encourage mothers to participate in destroying their own child in the former sanctuary of the womb, the first home of every person.

The Catholic Church is the guardian of the truth about the beauty of sexual love in an age given over to self centeredness and sexual libertinism. The Church rejects artificial contraception, not because she is opposed to sexual relations.

Rather, because she proclaims the dignity, beauty and splendor of conjugal love only between married spouses as a sign of the complete gift of self within the sacramental sign of marriage. Sexual activity belongs exclusively within the embrace of faithful, chaste marriage.

Marital sexual relations, rooted in the gift of self to the beloved, should always be open to new life. Contracepted sexual activity is never a completed gift of self. It is also not open to life; therefore it is neither unitive nor pro-creative. It involves a use of the other.

We also need to be clear concerning the place of homosexual activity in this crisis. Even if it is politically incorrect to do so in some circles. Many of the incidents reported among the minority of clergy who have sinned against their vowed celibacy involve homosexual acts. In many instances, the activities in which they engaged constitute pederasty, a term derived from an ancient Greek word that referred to sexual relationships between men and boys.

The teaching of the Catholic Church on homosexuality is clear, compassionate, and true. Homosexual temptation, even when it rises to what is often called homosexual orientation is not sin. However, homosexual acts are. Such acts are disordered. They can never accomplish the ends of authentic human love in the Divine Plan.

While the Church teaches that we must respect the dignity of every person, including homosexual persons, it clearly and unequivocally teaches that homosexual acts are intrinsically immoral and sinful. Homosexual sexual acts constitute a sexual use of the body of another.  Pederasty is particulaly vile.

Not speaking the truth is not compassionate; those who struggle with homosexual temptation or even orientation need to hear there is hope and forgiveness for everyone in the Lord. His Church presents the way and provides the pastoral resources for people who struggle with homosexual temptation and orientation to find freedom and fulfillment. However, they must listen to the Church, not to those who purport to speak in her name and then tell them lies.

The exposure of sexual sin among Catholic clergy is not accidental in its timing. It is a part of a time of purification. Such sexual activity, particularly when forced on a child by one in a position of power - priest, bishop or deacon- is an act of evil in its most heinous form. It constitutes a spiritual plundering and attempt to destroy a soul. It is also criminal - and it should be prosecuted.

There have been other times in the history of the Church when the clergy have been corrupted. God always begins His Spring cleaning in His own house. As the Apostle Peter wrote to the Church of the first millennium during another great missionary age: "the time has come for judgment to begin with the House of God." (1 Peter 4:17)

This is not the first time in our history as a Church that clergy reform accompanied a time of restoration. The Catholic Church in this hour needs purification, renewal and restoration. If we believe that every man, woman and child ever created is called to live in that House of God, we need to make it a place of refuge, healing and holiness where they can discover the fullness of their destiny in Jesus Christ.

The clergy perpetrators of sexual abuse must face the consequences of their acts. Their acts must incur just punishment. The victims must be helped with healing and restitution. The Church must be purified of sin. If the Catholic Church hopes to lead this contemporary age out of the Culture of Death, she must be a Culture of Life and a civilization of love.

Her clergy must be men who love, live and serve as the One who founded this Church loved, lived and served. Nothing less will do. They are, after all, His messengers and His arms, and His Hands, in a contemporary world that desperately needs His love and redemption.

The only subject I have not yet addressed is the explanation. One of the most confusing areas in this mess raises a question among the lay faithful. The most prevalent version is "Why do priests who commit such acts continue to be priests?" However, the question applies to Bishops, who have the fullness of orders, and even deacons who, though ordained unto service and not priesthood, are clerics. 

It is important to note that offending clerics are properly removed from active ministry, at least now. They can no longer function as priests, or deacons or bishops. However, priesthood is not a job, it is an office. Ordination confers a mark on the soul, an imprint. I end with these paragraphs from the Catechism of the Catholic Church which help to explain this indelible character of sacred ordination in Catholic theology:   

1581 This sacrament configures the recipient to Christ by a special grace of the Holy Spirit, so that he may serve as Christ's instrument for his Church. By ordination one is enabled to act as a representative of Christ, Head of the Church, in his triple office of priest, prophet, and king.

1582 As in the case of Baptism and Confirmation this share in Christ's office is granted once for all. The sacrament of Holy Orders, like the other two, confers an indelible spiritual character and cannot be repeated or conferred temporarily.

1583 It is true that someone validly ordained can, for grave reasons, be discharged from the obligations and functions linked to ordination, or can be forbidden to exercise them; but he cannot become a layman again in the strict sense, because the character imprinted by ordination is forever. The vocation and mission received on the day of his ordination mark him permanently.

1584 Since it is ultimately Christ who acts and effects salvation through the ordained minister, the unworthiness of the latter does not prevent Christ from acting. St. Augustine states this forcefully: As for the proud minister, he is to be ranked with the devil. Christ's gift is not thereby profaned: what flows through him keeps its purity, and what passes through him remains dear and reaches the fertile earth.  The spiritual power of the sacrament is indeed comparable to light: those to be enlightened receive it in its purity, and if it should pass through defiled beings, it is not itself defiled.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More U.S.

Obama grants clemency, 22 prison inmates to be released Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Obama granted clemency to 22 prisoners with drug-related charges, according to the announcement of the White House on Tuesday. Eight of them were initially sentenced with life imprisonment and expected to die behind bars, if not for the clemency granted. ... continue reading


Entire Alaskan town's population amazingly lives in a single housing unit Watch

Image of Inside the 14-story building rests a police station, school, post office and health clinic.

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In Whittier, Alaska, nearly everyone lives in a single building. The 14-story Begich Towers is the residence of almost all the 218 members of the town, including the police station, a school, an indoor playground, two convenience stores, a B&B, a laundromat and the ... continue reading


Where did April Fool's Day really come from? Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Christianity is one of the factors that led to the creation of the April 1, according to the most popular theory of the April Fools' Day. This is not a joke: according to the theory of the two calendars, most Christians wanted to celebrate the start of the New Year on ... continue reading


Extending the Lie: Ken Blackwell Asks, Which Black Lives Matter? Watch

Image of J. Kenneth Blackwell

By J. Kenneth Blackwell

Almost seven months after the fateful, fatal encounter between Michael Brown and former Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, Attorney General Eric Holder officially announced a truth he had been holding close for months - that the "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" mantra ... continue reading


Americans gassed up their cars and took to the roads in a big, big way last year Watch

Image of In December, record-breaking traffic volume was reported with drivers logging 251.4 billion miles. Indiana led the pack with the highest single-state increase at 10.5 percent for that month.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's an American trait to gas up the car and take a drive - anywhere, and that certainly proved to be true last year. According to the Federal Highway Administration, or FHWA, Americans drove 3.02 trillion miles last year, the second-highest level of vehicle ... continue reading


Is the U.S. under Invasion? In nine U.S. States, troops to 'operate undetected amongst civilian population' Watch

Image of Despite assurances that the training is to prepare troops for overseas missions, Army documents in the past have made clear that plans for martial law are in place for within the Continental United States, or CONUS.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The military exercise is both mysterious and just a little bit threatening. The controversial Jade Helm military exercise, scheduled to take part in nine U.S. states this summer will involve soldiers operating "undetected amongst civilian populations." The ... continue reading


OPEN BORDERS: Children without guardians continue to stream into the United States Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Children without adult guardians, from the southern border that the United States shares with Mexico, continue to stream into the U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, speaking to Congress last week, says that these child immigrants number in the ... continue reading


Bella's Gift: The Santorum Book that Keeps on Giving Watch

Image of The book, Bella's Gift, has shaken me. On more than one occasion, it has forced me to my knees in tears. That is because, in a candid, honest, profoundly spiritual way, this splendidly written book puts the reader in the presence of unconditional love. then, through its deep spiritual truths, it unleashes the dynamic power of amazing grace.

By Keith A Fournier

I was with Rick Santorum at the Awakening Conference in Orlando, Florida. Rick and Karen Santorum are personal friends. Their whole family is a source of inspiration to me. But most especially, that little Princess named Bella Santorum. She is the center, the ... continue reading


Play-doh Christianity and the Vanishing Cross

Image of Bell can have his happy-clappy, navel-centered religion and his wimpy god. He just can't call it Christianity, and he can't claim it's the Church.

By Jennifer Hartline

There is no Christianity without Christ, and no Christ without the cross. There was no need for the cross except for our Redemption, and no need for that except for our sin. To preach Christianity without preaching repentance from sin and taking up your cross is ... continue reading


McDonald's does the unthinkable - Big Mac Shop launches McFashion clothing line Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fast food conglomerate McDonald's had released its own fashion and lifestyle line, with the clothes full of Big Mac prints on them. The McFashion debuted on Tuesday in Sweden, in celebration of their most recent campaign, "I'm Lovin' It 24." Profit generated from the ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 50:4-9
4 Lord Yahweh has given me a disciple's tongue, for ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 69:8-10, 21-22, 31, 33-34
8 I am estranged from my brothers, alienated from my ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 26:14-25
14 Then one of the Twelve, the man called Judas ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 1st, 2015 Image

St. Hugh of Grenoble
April 1: Benedictine bishop of Grenoble, France, patron of St. Bruno. He ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter