I’ve been as furious as most Catholics about our “summer of shame” and I’ve spouted off on Twitter and elsewhere. I’ve also read lots of other people’s comments of fury and frustration.
We have to be honest and admit that much of the fury is not only about the sex abuse and cover ups, but it is pent up rage and frustration among conservative Catholics who feel marginalized by progressives at this stage. In other words, some of the rage is about the Catholic civil war–not just about sex abuse.
However, eventually one has to cut through all that and face some truths:
- Pope Francis is not going to resign. You may not like Pope Francis. You may think he is the anti-Christ or the last pope before the return of the Lord. You might think he is the best pope ever–the great reformer and all that. It really doesn’t matter. He’s the pope. He is not accountable to anyone. He likes being pope and he’s not going anywhere. You can bet on that.
- The Cardinals are not going to resign. With very few exceptions, one doesn’t get to be a cardinal in the Catholic Church for lowly humility. Many of these men exhibit all the traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and believe me, those folks never admit they are wrong and they never resign.
- The bishops aren’t going to resign. See number two above.
- In Pope will remain silent about Vigano’s testimony. It will be put in the bottom drawer along with the dubia from the four cardinals. It will be dismissed with an eye roll and an indulgent smile therefore treating the whole matter in the same way you treat the ravings of your crazy uncle who gets all wild eyed about conspiracy theories…Bush Sr killed JFK, 9/11 was an inside job and did they fake the moon landings…
- Everybody can thunder and protest all they want about Vigano’s big revelation, but they’ll be stonewalled. It will be the silent treatment, and they’ll probably go all holier than thou over their stonewalling.
- In the Fall the American bishops will come up with a new “charter” which will be short on personal responsibility of the bishops (no one will take the blame) but it will be full of crocodile tears, lots of concern for the victims and pledges about how this will never happen again.
- The charter will ignore the problem of homosexuality in the priesthood.
- Various Attorney Generals will probably launch their own investigations and there will be a long, slow, humiliating display of other crimes and misdemeanors by Catholic priests over the last seven decades.
- The mainstream media will give the news little attention because it will seem to implicate gay men in crimes, and that’s not allowed and also because, quite frankly, people will get bored with it all. They’ll be more interested in some celebrity’s face lift.
- The real problem of sex abuse by priests will continue to go away because the new rules really will be working, and the bishops (most of whom are doing the best they can) will enforce the new policies and seminary rectors will be more careful in who they approve.
- Homosexuality in the priesthood will continue, but the driving force for “gay rights” in the church will dwindle. Despite their best PR attempts to separate the abuse from homosexuality, everybody with a lick of common sense knows that over 80% of the abuse is homosexual in nature. Yes. everyone knows that doesn’t mean all people with same sex attraction are abusers, but we do know that breaking the celibacy vow creates an atmosphere of sexual permissiveness which makes abuse more likely to occur.
- Pope Francis? The more he ignores this crisis and says nothing the more his own authority as pope will disintegrate. He will be come a lame duck pope–issuing weak statements about the environment or immigration or the importance of ecumenical relations with the Lutherans. His supporters will organize and try to spin, but fewer and fewer people will listen and even fewer will take any action. The faithful will simply ignore him and get on with the work of being good Catholics at the local level.
So what’s to do?
I’ll bounce you back to yesterday’s post which gives some encouragement to “in the pew” Catholics about what can be done.
I’m not saying, “Well now that we’ve all had a big family shouting match, let’s just go home and get on with life as it has always been now and forever Amen.” I’m not advocating passivity. If your vocation and calling is to keep pushing for reform in the church and holding bishops, cardinals and the pope accountable please go for it, and may God bless you in battle.
However, if that is not your calling, roll up your sleeves, get on your knees and do what you can with what you have where you are.
Reality is always local. Get real.