I have been meaning to put the right words together in regards to the abuse we have all heard about in the Catholic Church. I am angry, ashamed, and disheartened, as are many of my brothers and sisters in the Church. I have come to realize that Satan is basking in his false sense of victory he gained in these latest scandals. Light has been cast upon abuse and corruption, but what the enemy does not realize, is that with light, comes cleansing. The evil is no longer in the shadows and we have an opportunity to defend and build up the beauty that Christ’s Church already has.
For now, I want to speak on behalf of myself and my Catholic brothers and sisters, and share some things that we want the world outside of the Church to understand.
The Behaviors of the Corrupt Leaders Do Not Define the Catholic Church
The leaders who are responsible for the horrible abuse and those responsible for covering up the corruption do not reflect our devotion or our morals. These cardinals, archbishops, bishops, and priests are not faithful to the Catholic Church and her teaching. They are giving in to their selfish and dark desires. They were trusted with leading Christ’s flock, but they failed. Remember, we are being lead by imperfect men. Just because they are leaders in the Church, does not mean they are free from sin. Unfortunately, their sins are heinous and have hurt many people.
The Members of the Catholic Church Want Justice
We, the faithful, want the abusers to not only be severely disciplined by the Church, but by the judicial system. We are tired of scandals being mishandled and the perpetrators not being held accountable. We want the members of the cleric who are guilty to resign immediately, followed by swift justice. We hurt for the victims and want them to find peace, and it begins by holding their abusers to the strictest of consequences.
The Catholic Church and It’s Traditions are Still Beautiful
Despite the ugliness from the scandals, our Church has beautiful traditions and a rich history. Just walk into a cathedral or basilica and you will be amazed by the history represented in the art. There is a sense of wonder when you sit back and take in the beauty of the Church. When you look around and see the people in the pews worshiping God, you see the real Church. You see people who are striving for heaven and will not give up on their Church.
Other Faith Denominations and Public Institutions Are Not Free From Guilt
The Catholic Church, while it has been in the spotlight for years, is not the only religious institution guilty of abuse and scandal among its leadership. The world keeps its eye on the Catholic Church because it is supposed to be a beacon of light and hope, and represent all that is holy. But what about the other churches in the world? There are reports all over the internet that you can find. Protestant Bible camps, missionary trips, band camp, etc. are only a few places where abuse occurs. Religious institutions are not alone in sexual abuse allegations. Just look at these statistics for sexual abuse in public school institutions. We can also go on about the sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts. You’ll find that the rate of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church pales in comparison to the cases found elsewhere.
I do not want to downplay the abuse that has been identified in the Catholic Church, nor am I trying to pass blame or judgement. All I am saying is that it has been easy for the world to focus on the Church alone, when really it should look everywhere. It hurts when someone like a priest, who took a vow of celibacy and who is trusted to care for Christ’s people, abuses his power. But let’s not let this blind us to the reality of abuse that surrounds us elsewhere.
Please Don’t Take Out Your Frustrations on Someone Who Says They’re Catholic
I, and my Catholic brother and sisters, understand your disgust and outrage. We also share it. But do not treat us as though we are the perpetrators. Be careful with your words, and please speak civilly. I, for one, want to hear your frustrations and want to help bring some sort of peace to you, but I can’t when you are hurtful. I have had people, who I thought were my friends, go off in a rampage when they found out I was a practicing Catholic. One friend in particular, in front of a group of other people, said, “I knew you were something [religious], but I didn’t know you were f!@#-ing Catholic! Do you molest little kids, too?! My aunt was molested by a f!@#-ing priest!” I was so hurt that someone I thought knew me better would say such a thing to me. This is the same as saying to someone who is Muslim, “Are you a terrorist, too?!” Please don’t be so ignorant. We are hurting, as members of the Church, by what is happening. Many of us are also victims, but have not let it push away from Christ’s Church. We want change and reform, but we don’t want to be punished for someone else’s sin.
These are dire times we are seeing, but we have faith in Christ our Redeemer, who delivers us from all evil.
I plead with you-never, ever give up on hope, never doubt, never tire, and never become discouraged. Be not afraid. –St. Pope John Paul II