Tuesday, February 4, 2020


The National Chismatic Reporter has a fairly good article on the sex abuse crisis enveloping the Church since the 1980’s.  You can read the whole thing by pressing the title below:

Clericalism cited as root of sex abuse crisis


Anonymous said...

Bee here:

I don't think one can blame "clericalism" per se for clergy sex abuse. It may have contributed to the cover ups, but I doubt it was the cause of the abuse. The reason I say this is because even as a child I can recall pastors and priests at our parish who were very authoritarian, pompous, and acted like privileged characters, running the parish like their little fiefdom. And I don't say this because I heard my parents or anyone say anything bad about them. They didn't. But I recall the pastor at my parish being hot tempered and a sort of short-fuse kind of guy, and very controlling.

Yet never was he or any other priest during those years ever accused of sexual molestation or abuse, even all these years later. My brothers (5 of them) were all altar boys, and all of them have said there never was any inappropriate behavior from any of the priests at the parish.

So if my childhood parish priests exhibited a high degree of "clericalism" (meaning, "entitlement" and "privilege") and yet never breached a child's boundaries, I would say "clericalism" cannot be considered a cause of sex abuse.

What I do think is a cause of clerical sexual abuse is the change in the moral expectations taught in the seminary after Vatican II, and as Fr. McD says, the kind of "I'm okay, you're okay" 1970's permissive attitude that followed that changed the perception of the gravity of sin. Or something.

When I was in high school, if I found out a friend had been drinking alcohol at a party or before a dance, I stopped being his/her friend. In college, I avoided people who smoked dope or worse, tried "LSD." I would stop being friends with people like that just because I disapproved of their behavior.

In the same way, I'm sure prior to Vatican II, priests who found out a fellow priest had a woman on the side, or was a drunk, or was a homosexual or had molested a child, or even stole church funds, were not tolerant of those men. They probably didn't want to be around them, and in some way ostracized and shunned them, being morally offended by their behavior. The pastor probably wanted to get rid of them, and the bishop dealt with them accordingly. And I'll bet those men, once found out, found it hard to be assigned somewhere. But I'll bet dollars to donuts that sort of peer pressure among the clergy to live up to high moral standards stopped happening within rectories (and among staff at Catholic universities, and within religious communities) after Vatican II.

So I wouldn't call that clericalism. I would call it apostasy.

God bless.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I agree with you Bee, there are many, many pre-Vatican II priests as you describe and I experienced some of them who would go ballistic at Mass during their homilies about the what they perceived to be the wrongs of the world and of the parish. But they didn't molest children.

The molestation of children is caused by compromised people who have seriously psychological issues, especially if they use their authority to abuse. In term of homosexual or heterosexual abuse of teenagers who kind of look like a adults, it could well be arrested development of these priests and they think they are entering a consensual relationship. It is also narcissistic since they only think of what they need and not the harm they commit, especially moral and spiritual harm if not murder.

The clericalism must be laid at the feet of bishops who reassigned priests over and over, demanded silence from victims or parents of victims (although let's face most parents didn't want it to go public for the sake of their children and of the Church!)

I think many bishops cared more for priests and having enough priests and very little for those harmed, especially victims and their families, but worse yet, potential victims and their families.

Anonymous said...

I think one positive thing would be for priests to talk about sin more. We have almost everyone receiving Holy Communion at Mass every single week and yet, according to a CARA survey back in 2008, 45% of practicing Catholics never go to the Sacrament of Penance (I'm sure the percentage is over 50% by now). I can't remember the last time I heard a priest in a homily talk about receiving Holy Communion "unworthily" that is, in the state of serious sin. Along with that, since the only time many people do manage to go to Confession is at a communal penance service with several priests there, what a good example it would be if, when it came time for individuals' confessions to begin, the priests there first went to each other. It might be a good thing for the laity to see their priests humbling themselves and going to confession themselves.

Paul McCarthy said...

Father the problem is a bunch of narcissistic sodomites much as it was 1000 years ago, but then we had true shepherds and laity willing to stand up to Satan. Satan had his 100 years and his work is now done. Now we wait on Our Lord and Blessed Mother to save us all as the church today isn’t going to do it.

Anonymous said...

FRAJM and Bee, I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for your reflections...