I am saying here that if priests lived the way they were supposed to live, that is by the gospel, then they could preach the gospel bravely and without fear. Not only would their words teach the truth of God but their lives would be an example to every one of living in God.
The people in the west do not like to be told what to do. The attitude is who are you to tell me. Priests living scandalous lives lends itself to the sexual abuse that some priests engaged in. And it can be said that if the bishops and the others in the hierarchy of the Church were living a true gospel life instead of the lives of administrators who are interested first and foremost in money, (that is how it appears), the clergy sexual scandal would have never become the growing monster of shame that it is. This just exacerbates the western notion of, “You can’t tell me what to do!”. That attitude alienates us from God. For a sweeping generalization of that we need to look no further than the entertainment industry.
Living the gospel is not easy. No one ever said it was easy. We can thank God that we have the Sacrament of Reconciliation to help us when we fail…and we all fail. Priests the world over need to reform their lives, live according to the gospel and preach the gospel fearlessly.
It is a unfathomable sin to just feed the faithful what they want to hear to make them feel warm and fuzzy…to make them feel comfortable. The gospel is a challenge so we all need to be challenged. But if they, or we, are challenged, we will realize that there needs to be a shift in our living and believing. And since shifting toward gospel living is uncomfortable because change is uncomfortable the faithful in the pews may get mad, keep their money or leave the Church all together. It has been my experience in the Church that it is akin to high treason to challenge the laity and risk their financial withdraw.
At this point that is how I see the negative reaction Church workers and some laity have to victims of clergy sexual abuse. The laity does not want to hear about the ongoing scandal because it makes them beyond uncomfortable, (read challenged), and the bishops just want to hang onto the money and property the Church has and simultaneously keep the money of the faithful rolling in. That is why everyone; press, victims, lawyers, were blamed and the Church kept trying to deflect responsibility for what was created by the Church herself.
We need to reform…all of us…