It’s taken a week to absorb the horror of the magnitude of the desolation caused by the corrupted Catholic priesthood. One doesn’t have to be Catholic to be struck dumb at the evil snaking through the clergy while the laity look the other way as generation after generation of children were abused in God’s house. Faith, trust, home, and hearth ruined.
Utter depravity such as this is alluded to in slasher flicks, but this is real life. A young boy, now over 70, shook as he recounted the horror. “I couldn’t have children,” he said, hanging his head in grief.
The priesthood has been problematic since the beginning. Moses’ brother Aaron and his four sons were the first priests ordained after Mt. Sinai. The oldest two, Nadab and Abihu, disobeyed God’s specific instructions and used “strange fire” instead of the kind God wanted and so they were consumed by God’s fire. They defiled God’s house and they were the first priests.
The last warning in the last book of the Old Testament in Malachi is a warning to the priesthood chapter 1:6:
“A son honors his father, and a slave his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” says the Lord Almighty.
“It is you priests who show contempt for my name.
“But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name?’
7 “By offering defiled food on my altar.
“But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you?’
“By saying that the Lord’s table is contemptible. 8 When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the Lord Almighty.
9 “Now plead with God to be gracious to us. With such offerings from your hands, will he accept you?”—says the Lord Almighty.
The New Testament church wasn’t much better. Jesus Christ held the church elders, the Pharisees, in contempt. Read Matthew 23 for Jesus’ indictment of these “empty sepulchres.”
The church didn’t get better after Christ died. The Apostle Paul had to deal with the leadership and laity at the church in Corinth because they looked the other way while a man carried on an affair with his step-mom. Everyone knew. No one said anything. The sin wasn’t just the illicit adultery; the sin was that the haughty people ignored the sexual sin. Here is Paul condemning the whole church in I Corinthians 5:
5 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.
2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
Well, that’s uncomfortable, especially today when all things are permitted by the church leadership — things Christ specifically preached against. There’s a lot of glorying. Paul noted that a little leaven (the substance that makes bread rise) spreads and expands.
Sound familiar? Paul was talking to the church nearly 2,000 years ago. And it didn’t end in Corinth. All the way til the Jesus’ revelation to his best friend, John, Jesus rails against the sin that grows in the churches.
As long as there are people, there is sin. The priesthood has been particularly vulnerable to hubris. The Apostle Paul noted before getting after the Corinthians, “Moreover, it is required of stewards to be faithful.”
The stewards have not been faithful. Worse, they’ve harmed children. And as corruption has entered the church — and not just the Catholic Church — the people have been haughty and arrogant, allowing it to go on.
There is no way for hundreds of priests to not be aided and abetted not only by other priests but by church members who saw and did nothing, turning aside while children were destroyed. And why would people look away? When consumed with sin oneself, the moral authority to deal directly and righteously is watered down.
It will take courage and will to clean God’s house of this obscenity. Already, church leadership equivocates. It’s despicable.
The world groans under the weight of moral turpitude. Technology and ease of sin makes hypocrites of everyone. Where is the temple, these days? It’s not some Catholic building in Pennsylvania. Paul, talking to the sinful, urbane Corinthians:
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
And what of the children? The hollowed out people burdened by the very ones meant to protect and shelter their bodies and souls?
Jesus Christ spoke of a parable of a widow seeking justice, but the judge did not fear God. The judge didn’t want to be hassled. Jesus asks his disciples rhetorically (Luke, the physician, relates the story in Chapter 18):
6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Justice must come to the household of faith. Directly, concretely, immediately. In the meantime, believers must get to work on the logs in their own eyes so that they can see sin clearly and have the moral clarity to deal with it not generations later, but now.
How many more children must be abused and destroyed?