Friday, August 24, 2018

Catholics Talking, Walking: "It Is Time to Stop Waiting for More Reports to Accumulate, Hoping That Something Will Finally Be Done about This"

Colm O'Gorman to Shelagh Fogarty, "Leading Britain's Conversation" Interview, by way of Sandra Glab

When I fully returned to the Church as an adult in 2005, I ignored the Church's teachings on contraception, abortion rights, homosexuality. However, as more and more reports of abuses have become public, especially the recent report against over 300 priests in Pennsylvania, I cannot look the other way. To do so, I believe, would make me complicit in these crimes. To hand over five or 10 dollars on Sundays in the wicker offering basket would be complicity. I need to take a stand and that stand is to leave the Church I had once loved, a Church where I hoped to receive the last rites.

In a letter on Monday to the congregation, Father Mark Horak, the Jesuit priest I confronted, wrote: "If you love the church, remain within and work for its fundamental reform." 
But the church can't be changed from the inside. It has already tried that. 
Ms. Reynolds has become the lead author on a letter calling for the American bishops to resign. I’m glad that my actions inspired her. I hope the rest of the flock heeds her call.
But we should go further and demand that every ordained member of the Catholic Church resign, including the pope. If any other organization had covered up the rampant sexual abuse of children, the government would rightly shut it down. Why should the Catholic Church be any different? 
I'm mad at the church administration, as I was in 2002. But now I'm also angry at the congregation. I'm upset with the people who aren't demanding that every member of the clergy resign. 
Catholics cannot keep on filling the pews every Sunday. It is wrong to support the church.

The reason why the church can't get a grip on the problem is because its primary concern is not to protect vulnerable adults and children but to protect the authority and reputation and the wealth of the institution. 

[T]he Catholic clergy’s sexual crimes against children, as well as sexual exploitation of vulnerable adults—in and out of the seminary, men and women, homosexual and heterosexual, leading to abortions and scores of fatherless children—are a consequence, not a cause, of the church's criminality. 
The proximate cause of that criminality is the persistence of an elite, closed, all-male system, a secret society of sorts, that condones, indeed, demands, lying about the reality of one’s sexual life at all costs. The church requires this complicity in the interest of maintaining the public fiction of a celibate priesthood made up of male models of spiritual integrity, entitled by their extraordinary virtue to absolute power. 
The abuse of that power begins in Rome, filters down to diocesan offices, leaks into rectories and priests' residences, and too often ends in priests' bedrooms, backseats, and beach houses; in parishioners' living rooms, children's bedrooms and even children's hospital wards, with the sexual molestation of the most faithful Catholics. The ultimate irony is that once those Catholics grow up, their own healthy and responsible sexuality will be ruthlessly judged by these very same abusive church leaders.

It is time to stop waiting for more reports to accumulate, hoping that something will finally be done about this. Done by whom? By 'the church'? If 'the church' is taken to mean the pope and bishops, nothing will come of nothing. They are as a body incapable of making sense of anything sexual. 
A wise man once told me that we humans are all at one time or another a little crazy on the subject of sex. A little crazy, yes. But Catholic priests are charged with maintaining The Big Crazy on sex all the time. These functionaries of the church are formally supposed to believe and preach sexual sillinesses, from gross denial to outright absurdity, on the broadest range of issues—masturbation, artificial insemination, contraception, sex before marriage, oral sex, vasectomy, homosexuality, gender choice, abortion, divorce, priestly celibacy, male-only priests—and uphold the church's "doctrines," no matter how demented.

There are no new papal directives coming up on the subject of abuse and Francis is not preparing any new documents directed at the bishops for the fight against clerical pedophilia. Authoritative Vatican sources denied to Vatican Insider rumors that, after the “Letter to the People of God” spontaneously written a few days after the publication of the Pennsylvania report, there is now in the pipeline a new text to be released upon his return from the trip to Ireland, as circulated in various media in recent days. The Pope considers the letter to be exhaustive and believes that the Church has equipped herself with the regulatory instruments and rules necessary to combat those who commit the crime of child abuse and also to hold superiors responsible if, due to negligence or other reasons, they do not act in an adequate manner, thinking of the good of the victims (emphasis in original).

Most LGBT Catholics have been deeply wounded by the church. They may have been mocked, insulted, excluded, condemned or singled out for critique, either privately or from the pulpit. They may never have heard the term "gay" or "lesbian" expressed in any positive way, or even a neutral way. And even if hateful comments did not come in the parish setting, they may have heard other Catholic leaders make homophobic comments. From their earliest days as Catholics, they are often made to feel like they are a mistake. 

The event also included a poignant testimony from Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of DignityUSA, who recounted the struggles that she and her wife, Becky, had trying to adopt their two children, Emily and Finn, from a Catholic agency. 
One of the children was born addicted to heroin and the other was so badly abused that she was rendered mute for two years. The children suffered these abuses at the hands of heterosexual parents. And yet, Marianne and Becky were told that they, as a same-sex couple, they were unfit to be parents.

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