05 April, 2010

Who should be blamed for abuse?

The people to blame are those who perpetrated these evil acts.

Pope Benedict is the one has labored to end all abuse in the Church and he has been very successful. Almost all of the abuse happened before Pope Benedict became the Pope and most happened when he was a young priest as the abuse in the news happened 40 to 60 years ago and the perpetrators are dead or quite elderly. In fact most of the accusers are elderly themselves. It is interesting to note that very little of the alleged abuse is sexual but consisted of whipping or striking children for discipline purposes in school. In Ireland it was often the punishment in what one would call reform schools. Often these were problem children to begin with. Then some of the so called sexual abuse occurred between priests and older homosexual boys. Such was not illegal but certainly scandalous, evil and outside the vows of celibacy.

When some accuse the Church of cover-up it is usually because the Church was trying to reform these homosexual priests by sending them to psychiatric treatment. Fifty or sixty years ago this made some sense since it was believed that homosexuality can be cured and they believed this aberrant behavior could be changed with counseling. In retrospect we now know that this cannot be cured or treated successfully. So the Church in these cases were mislead by the psychiatric community and believed they were doing the charitable thing in seeking treatment for these individuals. When they were declared cured by the doctors they were sometimes returned to ministry.

Pope Benedict has long before becoming the Pope made it policy that anyone accused of these crimes are to be removed immediately from ministry. He has also instituted church wide training for all those in the Church having to deal with children as well as background checks for everyone in contact with children. Consequently the Church is now one of the safest places for children. In fact over the last 2 years in the US there have been only 8 allegations of child sexual abuse and the pattern is that only 10% of these allegations have any merit. That compares of more than 250 allegations a month among Protestant clergy. Most allegations are made to extort money from the Church.

The current wave of allegations are made by a lawyer who has made a career of suing the Church with the help of some accomplices in the press. The current charges refer to cases many decades old where the alleged perpetrators are dead and unable to defend themselves. One might ask why it took 40-60 years to come forward with these allegations.

Some are trying desperately to connect Pope Benedict to these cases. They report that Pope Benedict knew of one case and refused to bring that person to canonical trial. As we find out, when the Pope was told of the abuser the trial and investigation was ongoing and the alleged perpetrator died two days after Pope Benedict was made aware of his alleged crimes. Pope Benedict never stopped the priests trial as is being erroneously reported. The fact is what we have seen from the Holy Father is a zero tolerance for abuse and a brilliant strategy to end the abuse in all areas of the Church and not just the priesthood.

Milwaukee church judge clarifies case of abusive priest Father Murphy

Certainly there may have been something more that could have been done in the past and certainly some Bishops responded incorrectly to these allegations. We must remember however that these are the evil sins of individuals and not the Church. Jesus told us that the Church would be under attack from within and without.He also told us of the spiritual battles we must fight saying, using warfare vernacular, to put on the armor of God. We fight against Satan and his minions of demons but we also carry out the our defense against those who have been predisposed out of hatred and bigotry towards the Church. We must accept their insults by the example given to us by our Lord and turn the other cheek. In a sense we should be encouraged in our faith by what is transpiring because it is the fulfilling of a prophesy given by our Lord who said that the world would hate us as it hated Him. The accusations against the Church are examples of that hatred as one would logically and charitably condemn the perpetrators of the acts instead of the Church. In the undeserved attacks, the Church becomes a victim and it takes away from the true victims and trivializes their suffering. In spite of all this the Church continues to do everything possible to stop these evil acts and to support the true victims of the crimes. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

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