So AGMA joined the Catholic Church in 1999.
And please don’t use the term “convert”.
I didn’t convert to anything. I was already a Christian who made the decision to express her faith through the Catholic tradition.
Not being a cradle Catholic, I:
- don’t live with the ‘guilt’. Any of it.
- don’t buy in to the infallibility thing.
- don’t always abstain from eating meat on Friday during Lent.
- don’t think I really have to go to church on “Holy Days of Obligation”.
- don’t know or say the Rosary.
- don’t genuflect before I sit in the pews on Sunday.
- And. And. And.
But the priests in my church are amazing men with Spirit filled hearts and prophetic voices who ‘get it’. They get that an authentic relationship with the Living God doesn’t depend on any of this man-created, extraneous ‘stuff’.
That some of the ‘stuff’ can enhance a faith journey is without a doubt. As long as it doesn’t start becoming an end rather than a means.
The Old Testament prophet Samuel had it right when he said, “For the Lord sees not as man sees: Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart…” (1 Samuel 16:7)
And oh boy, were/are there a whole lot of Catholic priests and Church officials who had all the right outward appearances, but whose hearts were/are totally black.
Evil might be a better word.
The Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report released on August 14th is incredibly painful to read.
AGMA started to read the 1300+ page report but got so upset that I had to stop.
I thought the 2002 Boston revelations were one offs, and that these perps were rogue priests. And the inaction of the Boston Archdiocese in removing the offenders from their positions and having them prosecuted was a ‘Boston problem’.
Yeah, and Rudy Guilianai is a honest lawyer…
While reading that small portion of the report, I just kept asking “How?”
So many hows.
How could these supposed men of God in positions of power do these heinous things to children?
How could these priests be so evil as to collude with one another in order victimize the same children over and over?
How could the Church hierarchy enable these priests to continue abusing children by ‘reassigning’ them? Over and over. And not having them prosecuted.
How could those enablers be elevated in the Church hierarchy after covering up these crimes against the most vulnerable?
How many children in other states/worldwide were/are victimized by predator priests to this day?
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
AGMA doesn’t think this is just a ‘Pennsylvania problem’ anymore.
And I’m one angry Catholic.
With so many people coming forward calling for similar investigations in their own states, AGMA believes this is just the tip of the iceberg.
The Catholic faithful are confused and overwhelmed. Many are asking, “We don’t know what to say to people. How do we defend the Church?”
My answer is, “There is absolutely no defense.”
Apologies have been issued from all levels of the Church. But at this point, the apologies ring hollow. There have been apologies, and some compensation to the victims in the past, but little else.
The new guidelines for handling abuse allegations issued by the USA Church in 2002 following the Boston revelations appear to be working according the the PA report.
Now what about the other 70 million Catholics in the rest of the world?
This scandal could bring down the Catholic Church. Or at least bankrupt it if every victim, worldwide, sued for damages. And people stopped donating money as a form of protest. Or just stopped going to church.
The Church needs to do something seismic. The leaders need to turn the Church inside out in penance and humble themselves before the victims who’s lives have been destroyed .
Maybe it’s time for a Vatican III.
Vatican II was an massive shift in how the Church operated.
Vatican III should be a massive shift in how the Church is organized.
I’m not a Catholic Church expert, but I know that ‘business as usual’ can’t be the modis operandi as the Church moves forward.
Accountability for the enablers, allowing married/female priests, appointing lay persons to positions of authority & leadership, reorganizing the Church at all levels up to the College of Cardinals…
It all needs to happen. And happen sooner rather than later.
But AGMA isn’t holding her breath.
POST SCRIPT: When I wrote all of the above last week, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t go back to my church no matter how wonderful the priests are. Which they are.
I just couldn’t get past the lies, secrets and cover-ups of the leadership.
However, something changed during the week for AGMA.
I found out that our wonderful senior pastor is being scapegoated by the right wing, conservative faction of the Church.
In response to his appointment to a Sexual Abuse Survivors counseling team by our Archishop, the alt righters are going ballistic. They have started a petition to have my priest removed. They claim that because he’s the priest of a “gay-friendly” church now, he is somehow responsible for the atrocities committed against children in the late 20th century.
I bet they all have MAGA hats stashed in their closets.
So I will respond to this attack on one of the most Godly and holy individuals I have ever know in typical AGMA fashion….
I’m going to thumb my nose (figuratively…maybe) at those who seek to distort the image of our all loving God. And, in defiance of their hate, continue to attend my church in support of our pastors.
And if the day comes that either one of our priests gets the boot because of this deplorable mob of Pharisees, AGMA will be a gone girl and will never set foot in another Catholic Church.
I’ve always thought it would be interesting to check out the Quakers.
AGMA always liked their oats.