A Father's Thoughts on the Current Crisis



I was torn where to post this excellent article. Media (“Casual”) or Catholic News.

Since pretty much all Catholics are discussing this situation (at least in my environment) I chose “Catholic News” (but if you moderators want this in another section I am fine with moving it to wherever).

A Father’s Thoughts on the Current Crisis

Christopher Check August 23, 2018 Catholic Answers

My wife Jacqueline and I have four sons. Thanks be to God, they never fell victim to the calculating predations of a bishop or priest seeking to gratify his disordered passions.

Many fathers’ sons and daughters did.

I cannot know the fullness of the heartache those fathers will carry to their grave, to say nothing of the trauma their children will. Nonetheless, I find it difficult to look at the scandals in which the Church today is mired from any perspective other than that of a father.

Since their youngest years, I have been telling my sons that the greatest and most important thing in their lives is their relationship with Jesus Christ, who, in his infinite and merciful love, gave us the Catholic Church so that we could come to know him and love him though the scriptures and the sacraments. . . .

. . . The grave sins of clergymen can never alter this truth. There is nowhere else to go to have our sins absolved (John 20). There is nowhere else to go to eat the body of Christ and drink his blood so that we have life within us (John 6).

More than once my sons have heard me say, with Hilaire Belloc, that we know the Catholic Church is a divine institution because it survives and even thrives in spite of the flaws of those to whom God has entrusted it. . . . .

. . . . Catholic Answers will continue to answer the apostolic call. I believe that we will because the members of the Catholic Answers team do what they do out of love of Jesus Christ.

As there are abundant reasons for hope, there are also abundant reasons for vigilance. Theodore McCarrick is no longer a cardinal and awaits canonical trial, yet any bishop accused of covering the sins of priests who still holds office must make a credible account to the faithful, or else resign.

And may the faithful, in the interest of good vigilance going forward, have a clear understanding of why we are here and what they can do. . . .

A number of bishops, including the pope, have identified clericalism as the culprit.

1/2 . . .


2/2 . . . . .

. . . But clericalism becomes intolerable when within its network loyalty is more highly valued than integrity . We have seen a circling of the wagons to hide terrible sins. That practice has now been exposed—sometimes with good motives, sometimes with bad—by the bright lights of instantaneous communication, but the faithful will have to be alert to future occasions of clerical wagon-circling.

Bishops need to be more alert, too, to the sins (including those of omission) of their brothers in the episcopacy; though the faithful might be surprised to learn the canonical limits bishops face in seeking to discipline their wayward brothers. (I have asked Jimmy Akin to treat this particular question in a separate piece.)

Nonetheless, bishops can, one, properly vet seminarians, and two, properly form seminarians for holy orders. I have asked Fr. Hugh Barbour to write in more detail about this matter of priestly formation. . .

On the question of vetting future priests, it needs to be stated that the current crisis may well have been enabled and exacerbated by clericalism but its origins are in something more sinister. Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin has been explicit: “It is time to admit that there is a homosexual subculture within the hierarchy . . . Share it widely.

This homosexual subculture was generations in the making because the Church failed to follow her own moral and practical wisdom. In 2005, the Congregation for Catholic Education reaffirmed the longstanding principle that the Church “cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture.’” This kind of directive is not new. . . .

. . . . It is not for nothing that the document uses homosexuality and pederasty in the same sentence. By my rough tally, almost eighty percent of the clergymen accused in the Pennsylvania report were accused of sexual abuse of boys. Of those, where the ages of the boys are given, the great majority were teenage boys. These numbers comport with the findings of the John Jay Report from 2004. It will help no one to talk solely of clericalism while ignoring the deeper problem of clerical unfaithfulness to the Church’s teaching on chastity, especially with respect to homosexual acts. . . . .

. . . .Catholics must be aware of the scandal and its origins, and be vigilant, but we must not allow ourselves to become preoccupied with all this evil. It’s harmful to the soul. Let us instead redirect our attention toward the divine. . . . .

. . . . “God makes use of evil in such a superb way and with such skill that the result is better than if there had never been evil.” . . . .

See the whole article here . . . . .



Easy to say we must not be preoccupied with all of this evil when your own child was not sexually abused by a priest. I give this article an F. Judge not until it’s your own child, or you are Catholic victim of ANY sexual abuse and have to know a priest, a bishop has engaged in this and those who are to protect and lead you not only looked the other way, but covered it up and protected their abusers from prosecution.


MaryT777 . . .

Easy to say we must not be preoccupied with all of this evil when your own child was not sexually abused by a priest.

That is a reasonable point but I think Check and Catholic Answers are aware of this.

He is just telling us not to be consumed by this terrible news. That’s all.

That “consumption” would be a loss for you and I and Catholics as a whole.

But I hear your point as does Catholic Answers (as evidenced by posting this article and informing us to propagate Bishop Morlino’s letter far and wide).

People are mad as hades to see this happening again (this time on an episcopal level), and want to make sure the shenanigans STOP.

And as many Bishops have already told us, the Bishops themselves are not up to the task of fixing it. And if Bishop Morlino’s letter is accurate, everybody knows WHY the Bishops cannot fix this problem.

Joseph Ratzinger (the future Pope Benedict XVI) may well have been prophetic when he foretold . . . .

And so it seems certain to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already, but the Church of faith. She may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but she will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man’s home, where he will find life and hope beyond death.-- CARDINAL JOSEPH RATZINGER

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. “The church will become small.” from Faith and the Future (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2009).

Note the original publication date of Faith and the Future was 1969.

Reprinted with permission from Ignatius Press.

Also (in case the above link ever dries up) . . .


Thank you for your kind reply and eloquent words. It seems there is always an abuse scandal in the Church and it’s been a difficult road lately being Catholic of course. However, as we heard recently in the Gospel from St Peter, whom would we go, you have the words of everlasting life.

Let us pray for our priesthood, the Church and the victims of sexual abuse that we may forgive, cleanse the Church of the sexual abuse of children and remember the Words of the Scripture in Romans 5 where sin abounds grace abounds all the more.


I think that the data from the John Jay Report showed that 4% of priests were abusers. 96% were not. It’s ironic and sad that now, in parishes all over the nation, it’s those 96% who never abused anyone who are apologizing to their congregations for the actions of the others.


Although it’s a small percentage of priests, it’s seeming like a lot of parishes have had at least one accused priest, and in some cases several (one I know of in another diocese where I used to live had like 3 alleged abusers in a row). On top of the abuse scandal, we are also having to deal with priests who were never accused of abuse but have other problems/issues, so it just compounds the situation.

Just looking at the parishes around my area:
Parish A had three accused priests who were there in the 60s, 70s and 80s respectively, though all had moved on by the time he was accused of the abuse.

Parish B had an accused priest who was finally caught and convicted shortly after he arrived at Parish B a few years ago.

Parish C had a former pastor who about 10 years ago accused himself of abusing a minor 40 years ago (when he was likely at parish A according to his assignment schedule) and disappeared into retirement.

Parish D had a pastor who was accused of having participated in a diocesan cover-up of other priests’ abuse and was removed as pastor and prosecuted for the alleged cover-up, though he didn’t commit any abuse himself. Parish D got a replacement pastor who was later removed for misusing Church funds on “inappropriate relationships with adults”. Parish D is now on its third pastor in about 10 years.

Parish E had a pastor who wasn’t accused of abuse, but had a drug addiction and was removed for stealing Church funds to buy illegal drugs and having the illegal drugs shipped to the rectory.

Each of these parishes have had lots of other priests who were never accused of anything, and they all continue to be big busy parishes, but it’s hard on people to see news stories on “bad priests” in their area over and over (all of the above cases made the news). It takes time for the memories to fade.

Christopher Check's article on Abuse Crisis

Yes, this is well said.


Good point,well said


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