Question: Without all the jargon about Existentialism and Phenomenology would you explain how the sex scandal in the Church just happened?
Answer: It didn't "just happen," but we will get back to that later. The scandal was caused by the conscious decision of Church leaders (and most of Western society) to pay less attention to the truths God has revealed about Himself and the Commandments He has given us, and more attention to popular opinion and morality based on how people feel about things. The scandal has been going on for about forty years, in a number of ways. What distinguishes the homosexual molestation from the rest of the scandal is that it violates civil law and has caught the attention of the media. Only rarely have Catholics been able to seek civil assistance against the non-sexual abuses that have been visited upon our Faith since Vatican II. Mutilated Sacraments and defective doctrine are not civil offenses.1
Question: How could such things have been kept secret all these years?
Answer: Really, they were not. It is more a question of no one in authority listening or caring. The proliferation of homosexual bishops and priests (particularly in seminaries), in the United States and elsewhere, is no secret to those who have agonized over the state of the Church for the past forty years. Conservatives and traditionalists have been complaining for years, both as individuals and as organizations. But the complaints fell on deaf ears -- the deaf ears of pastors, bishops, and Popes -- complaints about ridiculous liturgy, absurd theology, and immoral morality all seemed to disappear into the same episcopal and papal wastebaskets For most of us it quickly became apparent that the cost of international postage could be much better spent. The publications that printed the news about things like papal idolatry, pink-palace seminaries, naked nuns worshipping the Earth goddess, and "masses" offered with cassava root bread and beer were dismissed as being "antipapal" or even "antiCatholic," as though the conciliar Popes and Vatican II were more important than Jesus and His Church.
Locally, one couple complained to their pastor about the mandatory sex education in their children's' Catholic school. It cost them thousands of dollars to defend themselves against the law suits leveled by the sex-educator for defaming her character! The suit received national publicity.
It is safe to say that many victims remained quiet, thinking that they were unique and would not be listened too or believed when face to face with stately bishops and highly paid attorneys. Many good Catholics, not recognizing the magnitude of the problem, were content to suffer their own humiliation so as not to humiliate the Church.
Question: How about traditional Catholics?
Answer: So far we have not heard of any traditional clergy accused of cover ups. The closest to that have been in the societies of pseudo-traditionalists -- the "indult" orders set up by the Vatican to undermine the resistance of traditional Catholics -- again, New Order clergy. But that is not to say that traditional Catholics are immune. To some degree we and everyone in Western society are influenced by the laxity of the Mother Church. Hopefully, the traditional understanding of God's moral law will preserve us from the rationalizations of the Modernists. That is certainly to be prayed for.
It hurts to be associated with the bad actions of the New Order in the public mind. And, frankly, the revelations about just how badly the moral fiber of the New Order Church has deteriorated are a cause for serious concern among those of us who now see that the work of restoring the Faith is more monumental than we had ever imagined.
Question: Some columnists have attributed the scandal to the Church "imposing hierarchy" on its people, and being overly concerned with sins of the flesh. Is this true?
Answer: The Church's hierarchy and Its authority were created by God. If there is any fault in this connection, it has been laxity in employing this authority in accordance with God's moral law, and failure to discipline those who violate the laws -- certainly not in being overbearing. To the degree that the hierarchy attempts to impose immoral laws or false doctrines on Catholics, they may and should be resisted. Traditional Catholics have been saying this for years: "No one on earth has the authority to compel us to sin." Perhaps those have been defending the supposed inability of the Pope and bishops to do wrong will realize their mistake and join us.
The "usual suspects" have been calling for the Church to permit birth control, adultery, extramarital sex and so forth. Such demands come, precisely, from those who refuse to recognize the immutable will of God in the moral law. Their thinking is that if the majority want something, the moral law must change to accommodate it. But, in reality, the Church is utterly without the power to change the moral law -- it cannot give "permission to sin." Indeed, the problem at hand is certainly related to the attempts of Vatican II and the New Order to "re-interpret" such things as the ends of matrimony and man's obligation to recognize and obey God's laws.2 Equally to the point, there is no demonstrable connection between allowing Catholic couples to contracept or swap spouses, and keeping seminarians chaste.
Question:Wouldn't married priests be less subject to such temptations?
Answer: The Church could, of course, allow the marriage of its secular priests. But the vast bulk of the abuse problem has involved homosexual multiple molesters. Men attracted to numerous men are not going to be satisfied with a single legitimate wife. Such marriages would almost surely be plagued with adultery. Marriage is a responsible vocation in and of itself, not a cure for someone who is irresponsible in the priestly vocation. Before the Church were to return to a generally married clergy, a great number of other difficulties would have to be addressed and found capable of solution. Certainly, the benefits would have to outweigh the difficulties -- which they definitely do not in the matter at hand.
Question: What about ordaining women to be priests?
Answer: That is another fantasy, in the same league as the Church giving "permission to sin." The Church is simply unable to ordain women.3 Female priesthoods have been the mark of pagan religions for centuries, but God has been served by a male priesthood since the time of the beginning. This may have seemed a bit haphazard in the priests of Genesis, but is clearly defined as God's will since the time of Moses and Aaron. And we have no inkling that He had any intention of changing things when Jesus Christ established the priesthood of the New Covenant on Holy Thursday. He did not chose to ordain His most holy Mother to the priesthood, and certainly no more worthy woman could be found. It is worthy of note that the Blessed Virgin Mary has certain priestly characteristics about her -- characteristics acknowledged by good Catholics who know her as "Mediatrix" and "Co-Redemptrix -- characteristics often labeled "idolatrous" by the same liberals who urge the ordination of women. The priesthood is not simply a job, capable of being done by anyone with the right education, and appropriate social and managerial skills. And women are not free from the moral problems that plague men.
Question: A number of commentators have suggested that the local church ought to be subject to a board of directors comprised mostly of lay people.
Answer: The current scandal will not be remedied by administrative solutions. Obviously there must be appropriate policies for dealing with accusations -- better yet, to eliminate any sort of situation or behavior that might give rise to an accusation. But no set of procedures will substitute for the clear notions of morality that were discarded when Modernism became the controlling philosophy in most of Western civilization, civil and religious. To effect a genuine fix, the Church must return to the days when Catholics stood in awe of God's revealed truth and morality.
Lay people are as open to the Modernism as the clergy, so there would be no obvious benefit to complicating the structure of Church government with the addition of lay boards where they do not exist for other good reasons. Nonetheless, in most places the laity are the major source of the Church's financial support. They certainly have the right, and corresponding duty to be informed as to how their contributions are spent. Parishioners have a right to a statement of their contributions, and to see something like the "balance sheet" and "income statement" that accompany the annual reports of most corporations.
In reading the literature and seeing the videos that have addressed the scandal in recent weeks, one recurring theme is that the "bad guys" seem to have too much money and very little supervision. Often, the stories have the offending priest living in his own private dwelling, sometimes lavish, occasionally "kinky." Others seem to have an inordinate budget for travel and entertainment; money to take young "guests" places and to show them a good time. Too often the priesthood is thought of as a job, rather than as a religious vocation -- "I'll put in my time, collect my pension, and retire to my pad." Parishioners ought to make it their business that such wealth is not coming out of parish funds, or from overly generous gifts to irresponsible priests.
Conclusion: The key-word in all of this is "Restoration." The Church must return to its divine roots, teaching the doctrinal and moral truths revealed to Her by Her Founder, Jesus Christ. Moral and doctrinal relativism cannot be admitted in the administration of Christendom. Catholics must once again return to the reality that they are called to be apart from others in secular society; in the world but not of it, and contributing as little as is possible, for humans with divine aid, to its corruption.
1. A few Canadians did get their Supreme Court to require the New Order to allow them to receive Holy Communion kneeling.
2. Cf. Gaudium et spes; Dignitatis humanæ, and Humanæ vitæ, etc.
3. For a discussion of the non-sacramental appointment of women as deaconesses, see the Parish Bulletin,Q.&A., February 2000.