Yesterday as I sat in our normal pew with my wife and eldest daughter beside me and my two sons and youngest daughter serving at the altar our priest (a man I love and respect) read a statement from our Most Reverend Bishop acknowledging and apologizing for sexual abuse or misconduct by some of the priests and former priests of our diocese, many deceased.  After reading the prepared statement our priest told us that two of our former parish priests were listed among the accused.  One of the accused was the man who oversaw the RCIA classes that brought myself and my wife into the Church.  He had been the one to baptize my children, the one who told me that my own father (a suicide) could be safe in the loving embrace of God (many “godly” people had told me he was burning in Hell), he helped my family when we were cold and desperate and our own family had abandoned us.  I couldn’t believe it, after reading the accusation I still can’t believe it.

As a man and a father I am outraged by the behavior of these men who held the trust of so many. I feel hurt and betrayed that anyone I know and trusted would be on this list of accused men.  I feel sorrow that we, the Church Militant, have so failed those most in need of our protection and care.  I as a member of the Knights of Columbus have taken an oath to aid and support the Mystical Body of Christ, it hurts me that I, in some small way, have failed to do just that.  But of all the feelings and emotions that I have experienced since learning of this list, none of them is anger.  While anger is a natural response to such a betrayal of trust, it feels to me an inappropriate response to this betrayal (though I may feel differently if I were one of the victims).

Though some of our priests and bishops have failed to protect the most vulnerable among us it does not make the Church any less Holy.  These were the actions of a few men. What happened was the result of those men giving in to sin.  While I will never condone the horrible actions that they perpetrated, I can and will say that all sin is abhorrent to God and mortal sin whether murder or lust has the same end results unless the guilty asks in genuine honesty for forgiveness. While I can never know what those men have admitted to their confessors I would hope they asked for forgiveness with a contrite heart.

The most important thing that I will take away from this horrible and sad event is that we must always remember that our clergy and religious are still just men and women. We, as lay people, often put our priests and other religious on a pedestal of perfection upon which no man or woman, living or dead (with the exception of the Blessed Mother) could ever stay balanced upon.  I believe that the priest, whom I knew, that was accused of such a horrible crime could not have done what he was accused of, but if he had I think, hope and pray that he confessed his sins to God.  Whatever the outcome of this or future investigations I believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, made up of both saints and sinners, and which the powers of Satan shall not prevail against it. God bless and keep you and yours on your journey toward Heaven.

 

Written by: Zachary Swinehart

  • Akira88

    If you don’t mind me adding,
    anger is the right response. It’s time to tip over the booths of the money changers, (not literally of course).

    I’m not leaving the Church over this because the Church is bigger – it is the Body of Christ. Some won’t, hopefully many will be able to tell the difference. It’s not the first time scandal has hit the Church.

    If the Bishops were going to make an act, they should install Our Lady of America in the National Shrine in DC.

  • RuffieBear

    One of the priests in my diocese was among the accused. After an investigation, it was revealed the accusation was groundless, yet he will be forever tainted. How many good priests have been railroaded out of the ministry by ‘accusations.’ It seems to me that when it comes to the priesthood, it’s guilty until proven innocent. While some are guilty, we should wait until that pronouncement before throwing the accused priests under the bus. Especially in light of the fact many of them are older and mostly retired and out of public ministry.

    • Akira88

      There have been good priests targeted.
      There’s one I know who has been found innocent, yet has not been approved to go back into parishes. It’s a shame because he’s a very solid priest.

  • Bredon

    I think the sentiments here are echoed across much of the Catholic blogosphere and are totally inadequate to the crimes that have been committed. Maybe your priest confessed and maybe he did not. It doesn’t matter in terms of what our response because what needs to be done is punishment for the perpetrators that were concealed and protected and punishment for those that covered for them. There is no other response that will give any justice to the victims and to the greater community. No healing and any meaningful sense of forgiveness can occur until there is adequate transparency, the guilty are punished and removed, and people can credibly believe that things will be different.

    I’m tired of the soft responses of the blogosphere and from the Bishops who urge moving forward, which is a huge injustice and just a way for them to not expose all the rest of the crimes and to cover their own butts.

    • Phil Alcoceli

      Transparency also means showing that with a constant call to a vicious punishment-revenge-burn*them*all attitude like yours no Catholic Priest or Bishop will ever be completely innocent. Ever. Transparency also means that the huge majority of Priests who are innocent will be eternally harassed as guilty in order to distract and cover up the huge sexual perversions that the Sexual Revolution Movement has infected society with and destroying it through. Transparency also means that given that True Complete Healing only happens through Jesus in the Catholic Church, as they get pushed away from the Church by their “advocates”, none of the few real victims will ever find true healing. Ever.

      Transparency also means revealing that the Catholic Church was intentionally sabotaged from inside by therapists and psychologists payed by the Church who insisted in rehabilitation for the suspected Priests against the Bishops best judgment. Transparency also means revealing that those “victim advocates” do not care for the victims at all except for political gain of power and for the smearing, discrediting, defaming and nullification of the Catholic Church as their biggest obstacle for total political domination.

      • Bredon

        Whoa…ok. I think you’re trying to make a point about being reactionary and unintended consequences of that. That’s always true and everyone should be aware of that. However, that should not stop us from decisive action. To me, it sounds so incredibly irresponsible and borderline criminal to oppose full transparency in these matters. Not in all things for all the mistakes of priests in all areas of their lives and ministry, but in matters of sexual predation, abuse, and cover-up. I don’t see how anyone with a conscience could argue otherwise, so I’m perplexed by your response which seems uneven and heavy-handed.

        Yes I would burn-them-all if by “all” you mean anyone who abused kids and anyone who covered it up. Do you contest that? It’s the first order of justice to punish those who commit or facilitate crimes. Until the Church is ready to face that, then the calls for healing will ring hollow and not bear much fruit. Yes healing comes only through Christ and His Church but coming clean is the first step in that.

        I’m interested in knowing how I would be pushing abuse victims away by pursuing the guilty. If I were one of them, I would’ve pushed away because it happened to me and those in authority did nothing to protect me or hold the guilty responsible and Id be pushed away by others who constantly squelch the call to go after the abusers. I’ll put aside your unprovoked insult about my intentions being political and not on behalf of the victims because you know nothing about me and it’s not even worth responding to.

        I think your rant is misplaced and it’s an attitude that will allow for continued half-measures that will prolong this mess and draw it out for decades more.

      • Phil Alcoceli

        Real Truth is always “heavy handed”, “a rant”, “unfair”, “too strong”, “hateful”, etc. for all those who hate it and are hard at work to try to pervert it, infiltrate it, sabotage it and destroy it. On the other hand, their vicious hatred, blind militancy and inflexible bias is supposed to be always “fair”, “balanced”, “charitable”, and “truthful”. Talking about Real Truth, how would you feel if you were accused of murder and rape of children and you were taken to court and, to your surprise, your jury is composed exclusively and selectively by the worst criminals, rapists and murderers including those very criminals who actually organized and committed the crimes you are accused of? That and no chance whatsoever of appeal. How would you feel? As a former counselor and teacher in both prisons and also in public schools, I know that is the very highest dream of all the worst criminals: judging and condemning the innocent, using the guilty as their total justification for evil (moral human shields) and totally shaming all the rest. Is that your dearest dream and purpose for living also? Like with Satan, it would make you feel like a total god/goddess. Wouldn’t it?

        Both your rants (just copies of each other in different words) do not contain an iota of True Justice or True Fairness to find and punish the true perpetrators. You absolutely wouldn’t want the Truth because it would reveal the liars you are and that you are the masterminds and creators of the very crimes that you are not worthy to judge about. You say you would be very willing to burn guilty Priests. Burned at the stake by the Sexual Sin Revolution Machine. That clearly reveals the hidden, real goals, not justice! We Real Catholics have to be willing to endure and triumph over the blistering machine gun fire of both vicious accusations and enticing falsified extreme virtues. The victims of abuses of any kind depend exclusively on True Authentic Catholicity to find total healing and restoration in The True God like so many millions before them through 2,000 years of Church history. Shaming and misleading the victims and also ourselves about their painful tragedies just deprives both them and us of the Healing Fullness of God for all humanity, all of us, all sinnners. As always ever before, justice will comes by God’s Truth not through the Anti-Culture of Anger, False Charity and Death (John 16:33).

      • Bredon

        lol…did this response have anything to do with what I had written?

      • Phil Alcoceli

        LOL!… All of it!

      • Bredon
      • Phil Alcoceli

        Boom… Pssss… Your boom is no more. Boom and bust. You come here with comments that sound vicious and predatory (“Yes I would burn them all (the priests) …”) gloating in a totally self-righteous, self-justifying way as if any of their few real sins could ever absolve you of any your own evil, sin and total denial of responsibility. All that article you quote does is report Archbishop Carlo Vigano’s letter where he alleges Pope Francis covered up the sexual abuse of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick by completely easing the restrictions that Pope Benedict XVI imposed on him. How does that even “prove” in any way, form or manner that every Priest and every Bishop accused of abuse is absolutely and totally guilty? Short and long answer: not at all!! Yet you deliriously gloat on it. Boom… Pssss…

        Again, you gloat as if Priestly sin ever absolves you of any of your sins or somehow it now makes sin “holy” (male to male child abuse somehow justifying homosexuality, etc., etc.). As I’ve said here on TCM before about certain Protestant attacks, the most vicious anti-Catholic attack dogs are those who are guilty of the very sin they loudly bark and foam in the mouth about. It’s not just extreme Protestants but all who hate Jesus, the Truth and the Church. It’s Satan’s old, worn out, recycled distraction, transference and projection: “Focus hard on my anger and the Church’s sins not on the greater sins of my vicious and destructive children and parasites, I’m god and so are my children, follow me”. The True Church needs repentance, healing and rebuilding by the example of True Reformers like St. Francis of Assisi, St. Catherine of Siena, etc. and not by that of Satan’s Pride Parade.

      • Bredon

        Dude, what? Why are you making all sorts of assumptions about my character? You don’t know anything about me? I would never assume everyone’s guilt. I personally know a priest who was wrongfully accused and acquitted. And I’m not trying to absolve myself of anything. Your responses are ridiculous. Sorry man, this is laughable. Archbishop Viganò did what needed to be done here. We are all sinners yet we need to cleanse the house of God.

      • Phil Alcoceli

        Are you, the person who is advocating for the burning of priests and challenging me to refute that statement an outstanding, holy, untouchable character? Not at all! It is you who is very conveniently, proudly and self-righteously assuming that all of us here are arch-enemies of transparency in the Church and also blind defenders of whichever Priest or Bishop is guilty, all in order so that you can appear as a holier-than-thou, self-sanctified, “brave defender” of the victims. Tha’ts self-sanctification, a clear sign of sin. On top of that, if you are not trying to absolve yourself of anything, why then the agressive, vicious language? “For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”, Matthew 12:37. Your response is way, way more inept than that of some the slow to respond, shell-shocked Bishops.

      • Bredon

        Last, you’ve proved my point about inept responses to this crisis. Pax. Out.

      • Bredon

      • Phil Alcoceli

        Real Truth is always “heavy handed”, “a rant”, “unfair”, “too discriminating”, “too strong”, “hateful”, etc. for all those who hate it and are hard at work to try to pervert it, infiltrate it, sabotage it and destroy it. On the other hand, their vicious hatred, blind militancy and inflexible bias is supposed to be always “fair”, “balanced”, “charitable”, and “truthful”. Talking about Real Truth, how would YOU feel if you were accused of murder and rape of children and you were taken to court and, to your surprise, your jury is composed exclusively and selectively by the worst criminals, rapists and murderers including those very criminals who actually organized and committed the crimes you are accused of? That and no chance whatsoever of appeal. How would you feel? Ah? As a former counselor and teacher in both prisons and also in public schools, I know that is the very highest dream of all the worst criminals: judging and condemning the innocent, using the guilty as their total justification for evil and totally shaming all the rest. Is that your dearest dream and purpose for living also? Like with Satan, it would make you feel like a total god/goddess. Wouldn’t it?

        Satan, his children and his parasites plot, organize, infiltrate, sabotage, blind, destroy and then proceed to viciously judge and accuse their targets of the very same things they did. It’s their modus operandi since Genesis. Are we guilty when we sin, yes, but are we supposed to be judged and punished by those very ones who deviously plotted our fall? No!! Are Catholic Priests, and the Catholic Church by association, being judged today by True Holy Catholic Reformers like St. Francis of Assisi, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Theresa of Avila, St. John of The Cross, etc. who brought the Church out of Satan’s sinful plots into God’s Light? No!! Those True Reformers prove that the Church is a living sacred entity, the Body of Christ, self-correcting again and again, and growing to the fullness of God and that’s WHY is so hated and defamed. Do we need Satan’s help and that of his children and parasites to correct ourselves? Should we humble ourselves trembling in shame before Satan (like some very high clergy implied recently)? No!!! Repentance, Change, Hope, Reform and Restoration comes from God only. Evil never learns and never grows, it is Death. They are working hard to make us a copy of them, to make the Church a dead body through infinite, eternal accusations, Truth be darned.

        Both your rants (just copies of each other in different words) do not contain an iota of True Justice or True Fairness to find and punish the true perpetrators. You absolutely wouldn’t want the Truth because it would reveal the liars you are and that you are the masterminds of the very crimes that you are absolutely no one worthy to judge about. You say you would be very willing to burn guilty Priests. Burned at the stake by the Sexual Sin Revolution Machine. How appropriate, demonically speaking! WE Real Catholics have to be willing to endure and triumph over the blistering machine gun fire of both vicious accusations and enticing falsified extreme virtues. It is better to suffer and triumph under that temporal fire than burn in Hell in eternal fire for betraying the Son of God, who suffered the same and the very worst and overcame the whole world (John 16:33)!!!

  • “I am not worthy to have entered under your roof, but only say the word and I shall be healed”. Prayer and reform are necessary but let us never forget our own sin when criticizing other behavior. God will always be a much better judge than us.

  • Phil Alcoceli

    The article is right and Catholicism does not ever lose any of its Greatness, Spiritual Power and Holiness but only for those separated from it, and that’s the ultimate goal as I’ll explain. The sins of some of our Priests are deeply and greatly heartbreaking, tragic and sinful. Together with this, like the author, I had a very close friend whom for many years I shared all kinds of Catholic ministry with and who became a Priest. He was admired by Catholics and non-Catholics alike and after not too many years, he was set to be our Bishop. A false “Catholic” group sent a woman to make false accusations against him and he got demoted and was removed.

    I strongly believe some of the crimes of our Priests are indeed true, but a large number of them are not. Conspiracy theory? Tin-foiled hats necessary? Fanaticism? Hatred for the victims? No!! Three things are necessary for the triumph of Evil in this world: anti-Americanism (the most powerful civilizing force on Earth and which is a set of high principles not a person), anti-Catholicism (which is God’s Church on Earth) and anti-Creation-by-God (abortion, homosexuality, etc.). The Catholic Church needs reform toward holiness not toward Protestant-style secularism, humanism, activism and compromise, which is the very root of the crisis we suffer today and that flared up since the end of World War II, a continuation of the one started in Genesis.

    • Akira88

      “…not toward Protestant-style secularism …”
      Perfectly stated.
      Picking up some left behind traditions could help us disassociate from Protestantism.

      Maybe if the Priests adopted saying Mass toward the main altar where the tabernacle is placed, women veiling again …. some younger women in a couple parishes have adopted this.

      It’s as if the last 6 decades we’ve been trading our Catholicism for Protestants to feel more comfortable, yet, the Churches are emptying. Sure there are converts, but they aren’t filling the pews.

      • Phil Alcoceli

        Your thoughts are validated very well by Joseph Ratzinger in the book: “The Spirit of The Liturgy”. Latin is presented as just optional, as it should be.

      • Akira88

        Thanks for pointing out the association.
        You may know the right reaction to this thought: instead of “Latin is presented as just optional” the opposite were stated, “English is presented as just optional”?
        It does seem that if Latin is the option, then what does that make the common vernacular?

        There’s something different about the Latin Mass.

      • Phil Alcoceli

        Akira88, I thoroughly and completely enjoy the Latin Mass. I always have and always will, and I enjoyed learning the little Latin I know through it and through my late holy aunt. At the same time, I know God speaks through all languages. It’s not about “either-or” but both, the “Via Media”. Latin Masses are much better promoted by those who appreciate both. They are both Catholic and legitimate, details aside. Humility and devotion are more convincing.

      • Akira88

        Thanks Padre.
        🙂

      • Phil Alcoceli

        I’m your servant and God’s, “hijo” (son). You’re welcome! 🙂

      • Akira88

        I’d be more of a daughter …
        You’ll be in my prayers ….

      • Phil Alcoceli

        Sorry, I stand corrected as I’ve seen “Akira” used on both genders. I’m always very joyful about Catholic ladies visiting this site. Thank you from my deepest heart for including me in your prayers. I do need them, very, very, very much!!! I’ll do likewise.

      • Akira88

        No apology needed.
        Honest mistake. Hard to tell on these things, eh?

        RE: prayers – thank you,
        Be careful out there …
        Love in Christ