Last night, I watched a documentary entitled "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God."
It was a very eye opening and a very sobering documentary to watch. I was disturbed, I was left questioning, and I was left with a new resolution. I know that this isn't what the liberals are going to want to hear, but it is actually quite a clear statement.
First; WE MUST SHOW AUTHENTIC CHARITY TO THE VICITIMS OF THE SEXUAL ABUSE SCANDAL IN THE CHURCH!!!!! This isn't a negotiable and this is what absolutely MUST happen before anything else. They were victims, they are victims and they deserve all the solace the Church can muster.
Next, we must show true justice toward the priests who committed these heinous acts. The story focuses mainly on one, but there are thousands of others. I am of the opinion that the priests who commit these crimes should be punished first through the court system and then once that is completed they should be remanded to a cloistered monestary where they can live out their days in solitude, penance and prayer. They have undergone an ontological change (that is not a heresy, as claimed in the documentary) and they are unique men; their prayers can do wonders, and priests should pray before all else.
Next, I think that there are a couple of glaring things, the slant of the documentary is biased. I think that if it were presented on an even level, then we could see both sides, however that isn't how it was portrayed. It was portrayed as the Church is evil and that the Church is evil. That isn't the case. The Church isn't evil. Certain men inside the Church are evil. These men, who have been in control for the better part of a century now have created perception of the Church which is not accurate. If the Church is made up of the people inside it, then the documentary writers are calling you and me and every other Catholic evil. No. We. Are. Not.
The answer doesn't lie in changing the Church. The answer lies in changing the men. And as of late, the Church is trying to do this. The measures put in place since the scandal broke try to address this, although it is still in it's infancy. There has to be time given to implement these actions. The problem didn't start over night and the problem won't be fixed over night. But a good first step would be for the leadership to be honest with themselves. Bishops MUST stop with the omerta. They must start being more transparent. I think that this is happening in pockets, but I think that a worldwide synod should be called and a definitive policy must be put into place. Every bishop should be held to it and it should be a zero tolerance policy, starting now. If a bishop doesn't comply, he should be held to the same remediation as the offending priest. He should be remanded to a cloistered monestary and he should spend the rest of his days in solitude, penance and prayer. One of the great things about the Church is that as long as there is a Pope, he can make new bishops and they can make new priests. If a purge should come, then a purge should come.
Next, the leadership of the Church must work diligently to regain the trust of the faithful. They must stand up and say BASTA! Enough! And then they must follow through on it. Priests should not be afraid of their peers. Bishops should not be afraid of Cardinals like Sodano and Bertone. They should be able to accomplish all that they can in the time they have.
Finally, this won't sit well with the liberals or with SNAP or with any group which is similarly associated, but this documentary for all that it says; did one thing for me. It resolved in my mind that I cannot give up on the Church, it's leaders, or the faithful around me. I fully support the Papacy. I fully support the episcopate. I fully support the priesthood. The resolve that I have found by watching this shows that man is fallible. It shows that man can be mislead and that man does fall. But it also shows that man can get back up. The Church has seen dark days before and has come through. The time of the Borgias, the time of implementing celibacy (which I still fully support, 1000000%), the time of the loss of the Papal States; all of these have led people astray and into darkness, but the Church has always seen us through. And the Church will see us through this.
We are Catholics and our faith is not dependent on one man, or a few. It is based upon 2000 years of teaching, tradition, and love of fellow man. The Church is the means to salvation, but the leaders don't always see that. It is time that we ask them to stand up! It is time that we ask them be transparent! And it is time for us to ask them to return to the traditional values which have stood since the dawn of Christianity and our Church!! We have the tools, we just need to start using them again.
If a priest acts out, end it. If a bishop covers it up, end it. If a congregation ignores it, clear it out and start over. This is why...absolutely why I opposed and still oppose the idea of the Pope not being a temporal monarch. His authority must extend to ruling justly. He is more than a spiritual leader, he is a temporal leader. And at times he must exert himself. Not ex cathedra, but a sede! From the throne!
We must allow time to work through this. My call is for those who are diligent to remain so. My call is for those who are doing good work, to keep doing good work. My call is that we cannot abandon the Church or her leaders in her greatest hour. We must continue to hold them accountable, but we shouldn't lock them out. They must be given the opportunity to change, and if they cannot, then they should be replaced.
Vocations will come. Bishops must allow them. Bishops will come, the Pope must vet them; not a Congregation, the Pope. And the Signatura must do what is necessary to protect the faithful through careful application of justice.
In the end, the Church remains and I remain with her. The leadership will pass, it always does, but the way to salvation remains.