As I prepare to fill my church envelope this morni…

As I prepare to fill my church envelope this morning, I cannot help but think that if Catholics across the country were to make a statement. let us say on Pentecost Sunday and to turn in an empty envelope with the message “remember” or “reform” or ‘repent” or some other good “r” word, that those in charge would take notice immediately. Because I fear that what will happen otherwise is nothing. The institution and those that are well versed in it are always prepared to ride out the storm, thinking (or we might say knowing) that most people forget rather quickly. Most pundits seem to agree that this crisis will not go that route.

A very orthodox priest and member of Opus Dei, Father John McCloskey has said that this is a new “reformation.”

The question is who will take charge of the reforming?

Cardinal Law has said that he will stay, but all reports say that he has gone into seclusion. If that is truly the case than the Archdiocese of Boston is in big trouble. They are truly, sheep without a shepherd. The wolf has come and the shepherd is in seclusion (in some ways one might say that he has been for his entire time there). The Cardinal’s conservative stands are being attacked and he is nowhere defending his inconsistent behavior in being strong and determined when it comes to smashing dissent but weak and even an accomplice when it comes to covering up the actions of priests (liberal priests like Shanley even). So the voices raised in the Boston Archdiocese amount to “the Cardinal fired a nun for wearing a stole but allowed a priest who abused children to be moved around the diocese and around the country (with a glowing recomendation),” while former mayor Ray Flynn defends the Cardinal staying for the “good” of the church. Who is going to take charge of this reform?

Consevative Catholics need to speak out loudly about what matters–our faith in Christ!

When St. Francis dealt with evil priests he focused on Christ. He told his followers to reverence priests (even bad ones) because God would take care of them. For Francis this wasn’t some futuristic escape from the problem, as accounts of his life prove. A priest, who we are told lived an impure lifestyle (it is left to our sordid imagination to fill in the details of what “impure”means here), contracted an illness that had him at the brink of death. He asked to be carried to Saint Francis that he might be blessed by him. This was done. St. Francis was reluctant to bless him because he warned him that once he was healed Francis feared that he would go back to his “vomit.” Francis warned him, that if this was the case that God would punish him and he would suffer worst torments than he was suffering presently. The priest pleaded with Francis to be healed, Francis blessed him and the man got up freed from his disease but went back to impure lifestyle. A short while later, the roof of his house collapsed upon him in bed and he died a painful death. The followers of Francis remembered what Francis had told the priest.

If we are really believers, we will start praying like our prayers can and really do matter. We will be careful to speak out as followers of Christ, condemning sin but welcoming the repentant sinner. We will not contribute to the corruption in the Church by financing it, in fact we would be better off diverting our contributions to the poor.

I am quick to judge, it is my greatest sin. I need to be just as quick to turn to God who alone is the judge. I need to turn to God, not only to plead his forgiveness for my many sins and failings, but to pour out to him all that troubles me, because I know that God alone can save me and us!

There is a interesting article in the San Francisc…

There is a interesting article in the San Francisco Chronicle today that details three priests’ take on the current scadal in the Catholic Church. One priest left to get married, another is still active in ministry and a third has because of a nervous breakdown.

The first priest, ordained in 1962, left in 1970 to marry.

“It was staggering,” he said. “You left and no other priests called to see if you were dead or alive. The people in the parish were great. We got an apartment, and they would drop off notes, bring by food. But not the priests.”

His comments on the current scandal are:

“It’s a bigger scandal than it looks,” Andre says. “These are priests, and if you can’t trust these guys, the trust just goes. What has protected the church for so long is people think this stuff is unbelievable. Now it’s not.”

There has been lots of discussion recently about the culture of secrecy and loyalty in the Catholic priesthood. Andre has worked with cops and clergy, and says the code of loyalty is stronger among police than it is among priests.

“It’s not just secrecy. They (priests) don’t have that kind of loyalty to each other,” he said. “It’s more like distancing than covering up.”

The second priest was ordained in 1975 and is a pastor: He says:

“My faith is not in the institution of the Catholic Church, but in Jesus Christ,” he said. “I’m part of the institution, but if I were to rely on my faith in the institution, it would have been destroyed a long time ago.”

And:

“It’s not a new problem,” Genovese said. “It’s been so prominent in the media for so long. For (Boston’s) Cardinal (Bernard) Law to not even follow the guidelines of the bishops conference — that was disturbing.”

Then there are the rising numbers of bishops, archbishops and cardinals around the world who are being forced to resign over their own sexual misconduct.

“The church has been so clear about other people’s moral standards — then to see it in the top ranks,” the priest said. “It’s the hypocrisy. If it hadn’t been for the media, the church would have kept quiet. We are a flawed community, but they are concerned with the image of the church.”

The third priest also ordained in 1975, suffered a nervous breakdown and has retired for medical reasons. He says:

“When I was in the church, I was so oblivious. I was in total denial about everything when it comes to sex,” he says. “In retrospect, I see there was lots of sex among my fellow seminarians. I passed up a lot of opportunities and never even realized it.”

HIs view on the church’s view on celibacy is:

“The policy of mandatory celibacy in the Catholic Church is institutionalized sexual harassment,” he says. “Somebody says, ‘If you want this job, you have to have sex with me.’ Somebody else says, ‘If you want this job, you can’t have sex.’ If sexual harassment is about coercion, and not sex, then it’s the same thing. These rules don’t stop priests from having sex. It just stops them from being honest about it.”

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