Friday, January 4, 2019


Quite simply, the abuse scandal with so many layers is caused by bishops who would not, could not, and thought not to fire priests who broke their vows/promise of celibacy in an abusive way especially against minors under their pastoral care. They also refused to inform law enforcement.

In other words, it is a moral and legal issue and the legal issue is not only a civil issue, it is a canonical issue. It is a failure on so many levels.

This is where clericalism becomes a factor. Priests were protected as a family protects itself when there are major problems and criminal activity. Most parents aren't going to call law enforcement when their son abuses other children in the family or friends and children normally won't turn in mom and dad if they are taking sexual liberties with them. No one wants a family member to go to jail especially if that family member is a bread winner.

But those accused should have a right to due process both civilly and canonically. There needs to be transparency and confidentiality laws concerning lawsuits need to be abolished or rather, not sought by the Church. Light is always to be preferred over darkness.

Thus  bishops and brother priests must be willing to call law enforcement when they become aware that someone is breaking a civil law that is considered a felony, like sexual abuse, grand larceny or embezzlement. Then law enforcement needs to do its job to determine the facts, guilt or innocence.

But bishops must also apply canonical sanctions to priests who not only break civil law but also canon laws. Is that too difficult?

A bishop and a pastor must not only be a good shepherd they must also be a good administrator. These aren't mutually exclusive. A father who is a great and loving father but squanders his pay check and thus the family is made to suffer isn't a good administrator and it impinges on the quality of his fatherhood, no?

So Holy Father and bishops and priests and laity, does it take a rocket scientist to figure out why we are where we are and that no one wants to actually fix things that simply following common sense, civil laws and canon laws could have prevented?

And don't get me started on the proper screening of priestly candidates, especially post-Vatican II!

Look at what priests get away with in parishes, liturgical, canonically and otherwise? And nothing is done until a law suit is initiated.


Anonymous said...

Why is it abuse when it occurs within Church, and a protected right when it occurs in secular society?

TJM said...

Theoretically, the Church is held to a higher standard than the jungle

Dan said...

My dear anonymous, "it" is not exactly a protected right in secular society when "it" involves minors, patients, students, employees, etc.

TJM said...


Point of order. If you are a union public school teacher, you are protected because you vote for the Abortion Party, the party of 95% of the Media.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Right on, Father, preach it!

I cannot politely express how much it angers me how (too many of) our bishops have handled this. This is much more a failure of oversight, yet the priests are thrown under the bus. People strangely think we priests know all the dirty laundry about other priests. Not really, no. So we are not often in a position to call the cops about another priest. (I would, however, instantly.)

Priests cannot do much to hold bishops accountable. We can do a little, but our necks are in the guillotine. Laypeople, you must act to hold them accountable! Please!

And to be clear, I am not saying, burn down the house. Do it the right way. But please, be heard! Be persistent! Don't let them send you away with soothing words. Demand action.

Anonymous said...

Since these scandals erupted in the early 2000's we are on our third bishop. They have all been tolerant of priests in the diocese acting out sexually with other adults, men and women. These bishops say and do nothing.

TJM said...

Father Fox,

Great advice. We will be vigilant.