I have now accepted the fact that bishops everywhere do not understand the effects of clergy sexual abuse on victims, their families and the Church at large. They still fail to understand that the response to the diabolical revelations of not only abuse but the cover-up, (maybe the obtuseness of the hierarchy to understand this horror is the real cover-up in some cases), has effected everyone in the Church. For example the attendance at mass at my own parish has dropped significantly. Some of the pondering at meetings were/are; the economy, people not feeling like going to church while on vacation, lack of parking at the church… When I suggested that maybe the clergy sexual abuse scandal and then the really bad handling of it by bishops had something to do with it I got looks of shock and then looks of clarity. It honestly did not occur to the people doing the mass counts that this was, or a least could be a, factor in the drop in mass attendance.
Then it was my turn to be shocked. We do not exist in a bubble. Our faith should play a part in every aspect of our lives. The people of true faith know that idiot priests and bishops do not play a part in what goes on at mass. The Holy Spirit still can be called down by the ordained priest, (even the ones who are bad), to change the elements of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. Sadly not all Catholics are at that level of faith so it is fairly easy to fall away because of the criminal behavior of some clergy.
I have also now accepted the fact that bishops everywhere do not shepherd the flocks in appropriate ways. If they did then they would have a better grasp on the sex abuse issue. But that is not the only issue that the Church currently has to deal with. Father Marcel Guarnizo not giving a buddhist and lesbian Eucharist at her mothers funeral is an issue with a far-reaching effect. The last I checked Buddhist were not eligible for Eucharist in the Catholic faith. In fact no one who is Catholic and in mortal sin is eligible for Eucharist. Eucharist is not owed to us, it is an honor and a privilege. How about the cardinal’s office issue that statement. If there were other concerns with Father Guarnizo then they needed to be separated from his refusal to give Eucharist to an apostate. A teaching moment slipped away from the cardinal. There is the same confusion with the issue of abortion and the Catholic Church’s stance. It has never been o.k. to support abortion as a member of the Catholic Church. Another teaching moment that slips from the bishops. Local priests can only do so much teaching on this issue. The difineitive teaching, the teaching of the Church must come from the bishops, the shepherds, without compromise.
If these two issues can’t be addressed by the bishops of the United States for whatever reason then is it a surprise that the far-reaching effects of the sexual abuse scandal escape them?
I have a friend who is working in Philadelphia. Their parish is getting hit quite hard and square on with the blow back from the scandal. Thank you for continuing to post. God – will it take to get through to the hierarchy?