Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

5/9/2013 (2 years 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 (2 years 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'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2016
Universal:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Evangelization: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More U.S.

'Church ladies' finally force phony priest in Los Angeles to authorities Watch

Image of Erwin Mena  was arrested by Los Angeles police for allegedly impersonating a Roman Catholic priest and on suspicion of grand theft (Los Angeles Times).

By Mary Rezac, CNA/EWTN News

For months, Erwin Mena donned vestments, called himself "Padre," and convinced Southern California Catholics that he was a priest, police say. Los Angeles, Calif. (CNA/EWTN News) - He was good at it, too, reportedly. He attended seminary in El Salvador for a time ... continue reading


Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis to Meet in Cuba in Historic Move of the Holy Spirit Watch

Image of Orthodox Christian Patriarch Kirill and Catholic Christian Pope Francis

By Deacon Keith Fournier

This meeting of the Primates of the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church, after a long preparation, will be the first in history and will mark an important stage in relations between the two Churches. The Holy See and the Moscow Patriarchate hope that ... continue reading


'Deeply disturbing': ANOTHER Planned Parenthood video has been released by the Center for Medical Progress (Warning: Graphic Content) Watch

Image of Yet another undercover video featuring the horrors of Planned Parenthood's illegal acts has been released (Leda Oreskovich).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released another video featuring Planned Parenthood officials casually - and even happily - discussing the revolting practice of murdering infants in the womb then mercilessly cutting them to pieces for profit. Meanwhile, after ... continue reading


Phony priest celebrated masses, funerals and performed marriages - for more than 20 years! Watch

Image of Operating out of St. Ignatius of Loyola in northeastern Los Angeles, Erwin Mena allegedly sold tickets to a pilgrimage to visit New York to see the Pope during his visit to the United States last year (Facebook).

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

He might have talked a good talk and walked a good walk, but authorities finally caught up with fifty-nine-year-old Erwin Mena, who posed as a priest for more than 20 years in Los Angeles. Mena was arrested and will enjoy a lot of time in small rooms - with bars on the ... continue reading


'Christian Refugees 2 Christian Nations, Muslim Refugees 2 Muslim Nations, That's Only Fair': Protesters rally in Missoula County Courthouse Watch

Image of Protesters stand in snow (not pictured) to stand against new influx of refugees into America (AP).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

In an effort to ease the strain on other countries who have accempted several thousand refugees, the Obama administration plans to send refugees to smaller Montana cities. Over 120 Montana citizens faced snow and ice on Monday to protest outside the Missoula County ... continue reading


Why did secret Muslim Obama visit a controversial mosque? Watch

Image of Why is Obama visiting a mosque with questionable ties?

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

President Obama is visiting a controversial mosque in Baltimore today, one that has ties to Islamic extremism. Even fellow Muslims are upset that he chose the Islamic Society of Baltimore for his visit, when he could have chosen more "moderate" mosques. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


In the minds of murderers: 9/11 began with a small question and grew to a national tragedy Watch

Image of 9/11 was based on a flight that crashed into the sea (Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The horrific tragedy of 9/11 was reportedly started when Osama bin Laden heard of the murder-suicide on EgyptAir Flight 990. The plane's pilot crashed into the ocean, prompting bin Laden to wonder why he didn't choose to crash into a building. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


What does the Super Bowl have to do with the Catholic Church? Watch

Image of

By CNA/EWTN News

Who else is facing off during the Super Bowl? Catholic Charities. Whether fans are rooting for the Denver Broncos or the Carolina Panthers in the upcoming NFL Super Bowl 50, Catholic Charities of Denver, Colorado, and Charlotte, South Carolina are uniting to host ... continue reading


Did the Groundhog see his shadow? 6 fun facts about Groundhog Day you never knew before Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The fate between winter and spring anxiously awaited the arrival of the weather-predicting groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil. The furry groundhog emerged from his hole on February 2 in search of a shadow ... that he never found. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According ... continue reading


'The Way' with Deacon Fournier: Are We Driving Jesus Out of Our Lives? Watch

Image of An artists rendering of the anguish of the Gerasene demoniac before he was delivered by the power of Jesus Christ.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

These biblical accounts need to be read, re-read, prayed over, and then read again and again and again. They need to be applied in our own lives, if we want to fully experience the healing of the wounds caused by our own sin and be freed from our own spiritual ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Sirach 47:2-11
2 As the fat is set apart from the communion sacrifice, so was David ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 18:31, 47, 50, 51
47 the God who gives me vengeance, and subjects whole peoples to ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 6:14-29
14 King Herod had heard about him, since by now his name was well known. ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 5th, 2016 Image

St. Agatha
February 5: Although we have evidence that Agatha was ... Read More