For a good, faithful, Catholic, it’s got to be a bit rough these days. The Roman Catholic Church is fighting fire, brimstone and damnation level scandal once again. Parishioners must have some trepidation and disillusionment at the knowledge that, not one, but dozens of their priests are predatory pedophiles.
Time for the reckoning, Monsignor William Lynn of Philadelphia is the first high ranking former official of the Catholic Church to be charged with child endangerment – ever. He allegedly transferred problem priests to different parishes after they’d been accused of sexual abuse. Lynn has four co-defendants. Two are priests; one is a former priest and one a former Catholic schoolteacher. Sadly, all four of them allegedly raped the same boy. (Holy Mary, Mother of God, we defer them to you!)
The Philadelphia archdiocese has had two grand jury reports filed against it. In 2005, 63 priests were accused of abuse. The church covered for them and, due to the statute of limitations expiring, no indictments were made. This time, though, no time was wasted. The grand jury named 37 priests who allegedly sexually abused parishioners. (The church kept them on active duty for some time, before putting 21 of them on leave. Now only 8 remain “active.”) And, they quickly indicted those who are now going to trial. The really bad news, though, is that this is not a new story.
Since the 1980’s, the Catholic Church has been dodging and covering allegations of sexual abuse by priests. The church has even admitted liability in some cases and has paid civil damages. The point, though, is that the church has covered up crimes and, in doing so, engaged in criminal behavior – both implicitly and tacitly – for years. No one is above the law, man’s or God’s. Unfortunately, these are bad men who have done bad things and have stained the reputation of the church. We know that there are many more good, honest, decent priests. So, all MAMAs ask is that you “practice what you preach.” And, we will do our best to forgive, but we will never forget.
In God we trust, but in his messengers…not so much. There has been a pattern of deceit and abuse. So, the sad lesson is that we cannot simply have blind faith in people. Like every other person on the planet, priests are not exempt – they’ve got to earn our trust. And guess what else? MAMAs are going to make sure we teach our kids whom to trust and why – that no one is allowed to touch their private parts EVER, that there are no secrets that adults tell them that should be kept from mommy and that if someone’s words don’t match their actions, then they are not safe.
It’s too bad that we’ll have to put priests in the “watch out for the creepy guy in the trench coat” category. Our faith has been shaken.