It is difficult, and feels futile, to discuss what measures the Catholic Church can and must take to root out the abusers and perverts in its ranks. The feeling of futility comes from the fact that substantive change ultimately requires the consent and leadership of the bishops. But so many bishops in the western Church are precisely the limp, feeble weaklings who got us into this mess in the first place.
Many dioceses (not all, but many) are led by robe-wearing bureaucrats; the sort of men who would be better suited for pushing pencils in the corporate world or perhaps managing a supermarket somewhere. These are career-minded, not Christ-minded, men. They are worried about public relations, protecting the brand, and avoiding controversy above all — and they’ve done a catastrophic job on all three counts. This is why a sermon from a bishop oftentimes sounds like it was written by a focus group. If there is going to be any real improvement in the Church, it will depend on bishops rediscovering their spines. And their faith.
With that understood, I think it can still be useful to talk about what sorts of things should happen. The following three steps are far from comprehensive:
1) All homosexuals must be banned from the priesthood.
Supposedly, gay men are already prevented from entering the priesthood. Obviously these efforts have not been serious or thorough enough. And the current policy is too limited. All active homosexuals must be filtered out of the system. If they have already been ordained, then they should be laicized.
Priests like Fr. James Martin who advocate for the gay agenda in the culture and within the Church should be instructed to publicly repent of their wickedness or leave the priesthood. If Martin and his ilk want to be proponents of gay pride, they shouldn’t be allowed to do it while wearing the collar. Defrock them and let them get a job with GLAAD’s public relations department.
It may upset our modern sensibilities to think that the sex scandal in the Church could be linked to homosexuality, but the facts are the facts. A vast majority of the victims have been male. From that starting point, it is not difficult to deduce that the vast majority of the predators have been homosexual. And before you make the absurd but common claim that men who molest boys aren’t gay — as if the average molester is solely interested in young people and has no preference as to the gender — I point you to the words of a predator priest who admitted to abusing boys but denied abusing girls because “they don’t have a penis.”
The problem of homosexuals in the clergy goes beyond the child abusers themselves. There is, as one report puts it, a “huge homosexual underground in the Church.” This gay cabal conspires to silence dissenters through threats and blackmail. One courageous parish priest recently stood in front of his congregation and publicly revealed some of the demonic tactics these people use. Click on the link and read it for yourself. This priest has no reason to lie. He has everything to lose and absolutely nothing to gain by making the claims he makes.
2) Evil must be condemned from the pulpit.
Evil thrives in an environment of cowardly permissiveness. That explains why we have so much evil in our culture and in the Church. While predator priests are a small minority, there is a much greater preponderance of cowardly priests who allow wickedness to prosper by refusing to stand against it. I am not solely talking about those priests who have personal knowledge of sex abuse and say nothing — though I am certainly talking about them as well — but mainly I refer to priests who rarely say anything about the general state of perversion, depravity, and darkness in our culture. They promote the sort of hollow, all-accepting faith that does not expose and exterminate evil, but rather feeds and fosters it.
These priests refuse to provide any actual moral guidance to their congregations because they think, with good reason, that their congregations may feel upset and offended. Well, let them be offended. Let them leave the Church. Let them leave Christianity entirely. Any Christian who will be scared away by a little fire and brimstone is not much of a Christian in the first place. We cannot cater to them anymore. We cannot allow them to drag us all down into the muck of secularism and agnosticism. If a church is populated almost entirely by these empty, effeminate, half-secular sorts of Christians, so that upsetting them will effectively close the church, then so be it. Let it close. Let the churches that function more as social clubs for the faithless go extinct. Let the Christians who are afraid of truth slither away and hide. Let the Church shrink down to its authentic size, down to its core where only the truly faithful remain, and then we can start to rebuild it from there.
There are some courageous priests of this sort. Take the one I mentioned above. Or my friend Fr. Richard Heilman, who has publicly denounced “effete bishops” and “radical, gay priests.” These two men are not alone. But they are in the minority, I’m afraid. The average parish priest seems to be relatively “decent,” by worldly standards, but certainly not the bold and manly warrior for Truth that we so desperately need in these times.
3) The laity must wield its power.
Lay Catholics are not powerless here. Every church is financially dependent on its flock. A church where abuse occurred should be facing a full-scale revolt and imminent bankruptcy — unless and until it can show that everyone involved has been purged and procedures have been put in place to prevent abuse in the future. Congregations must demand full transparency and full accountability.
And even churches that had no part in abusing children should still face scrutiny. Churches of the type I described above — secularized, modernized havens of moral cowardice and hollow spirituality — should receive no support from devout Catholics. Those who really love their faith should seek out churches where that faith is truly defended and preserved. Let the others starve and die, or else change radically.