The Roman Catholic Church is embroiled in a world-wide scandal with regard to the sexual behaviour of many of its priests, especially with young boys. So serious is the problem that Pope John Paul 11 held a recent meeting in the Vatican to which the United States cardinals were summoned to appear.
1000 LEGAL ACTIONS!
A recent television report estimated that there were about one thousand legal actions currently in the United States against priests alleged to have sexually abused young children. But the problem is not confined to North America, where lawsuits are more likely to be seen, but in Ireland Bishop Brendan Comiskey resigned because of his failure to control". paedophile priest in his diocese." [Toronto Star April 2, 2002] .
Pope John Paul II, right, reads his message to American Cardinals gathered in his private library at the Vatican, Tuesday, April 23, 2002. The pope addressed the opening session of a closed-door summit meeting with the cardinals on the clergy sex abuse scandal. (AP Photo/Vatican, Arturo Mari)
In Poland Archbishop Juliusz Paetz "stepped down amid a mounting scandal. ...that he made sexual advances on young clerics." [Toronto Star Report]
The Pope said these ate crimes against humanity and also serious sin - but then did virtually nothing about it. It was hoped, by many Roman Catholics, that the cardinals and the pope would go for a 'zero tolerance' policy meaning that any priest involved would be immediately unfrocked and dismissed from the priesthood.
Instead the pope intoned his condemnation but did not take any concrete action -that being reserved for those with a long history of the problem. As they say 'actions speak louder than words.'
It is admitted that within any organization, anywhere on earth, no matter how holy, there will be 'bad apples' which spoil the rest. This is true in politics, business and religion. It is one thing for mere individuals to be involved in such wrongdoing but it is a much more serious matter when the leadership is at fault.
Roman Catholic priests are seen as leaders in their communities. As an institution that professes nominal Christianity, at least, a much higher standard is expected from those in elevated office. Therefore their sin is all the more reprehensible when Roman Catholic people look to them for some sort of holy example.
Sadly, the opposite is true, but it never ceases to amaze that so many Roman Catholic people can look on with comp1atenty and excuse the crimes and sins of their leaders.
One of the highest profile cases involved "Boston's most notorious paedophile priest, John Geoghan." He was sentenced to nine years behind bars, and 'days after the Boston Archdiocese settled with 86 of his victims for at least $15 million." [USA Today March 15, 2002]
Boston's Cardinal Law has found himself in very hot water for covering over the behaviour of priests serving under him. He may yet be forted to resign. Part of the problem has been Rome's practice of shuffling off offending priests to other parishes where they are not known, and where their earlier misdeeds were not reported to their new parishes.
THE CELIBACY PROBLEM
Every time these scandals surface it raises the old question of priestly ce1ibacy. It is argued that if priests were allowed to marry there would be less of a problem with deviant behaviour.
There is no doubt that forced celibacy is the fountain of much sin. Every person is born with certain God-given biological desires and functions relative to the procreation of the human race. The Lord has sanctified the marriage bond and within its bounds these natural functions are to be encompassed.
Forced celibacy, on the other hand, leaves the practitioner with no way of dealing with the God-given instincts hence the widespread move into deviant behaviour.
Besides, how can a bachelor priest adequately counsel families when he cannot enter into the practical understanding of those concerns?
There are those, however. who voluntarily choose to remain single so that they may give themselves more fully to the work of God. But there is a world of difference between that voluntary celibacy for the glory of God and the enforced celibacy of Romanism.
WORLD YOUTH DAYS
The Pope is to visit Toronto in July to participate in the World Youth Days conference sponsored by the Roman Catholic Church, but paid mostly by Canadian taxpayers' money. (His last visit in 1984 cost the long-suffering taxpayers n cool $54 million dollars to stage).
The Roman Catholic authorities are getting worried because their much lauded 450,000 attendance is in serious trouble. So far only about 150,000 have registered for the event. And, of course, the pope's precarious health situation makes his presence more than unlikely.
In the context of this article readers will be interested in the column on the World youth Days in the 'Toronto Star' by Michele Landsberg. She writes, "With feathery white! wings and shining haloes, the guardian angels will quietly move among the young people, handing out little packages of condoms." The 'angels' are members of 'Challenge the Church' which intends to protect the youth from themselves in Toronto. Another example of the unholiness of the organization which calls itself "the Holy Catholic Church."
From the Canadian Revivalist