Defending Priests amidst allegations


#1

So far, the main thing I’ve encountered early on in my Catholic journey, “they rape little boys.”

To be honest, it had crossed my mind that “what if it happened to MY son?”

Help me defend and get over my own fear that sits in the back of my mind. Thanks.


#2

You can’t defend the indefensible. That sort of depravity is certainly indefensible. I think the first thing to understand is that priests are human beings, not super human. They should be understood as such. They are generally more spiritually aware and more pastoral, but you shold not be less aware of any unusual behaviour from a priest than from anyone else.

These sick people do not affect the Church, the deposit of faith she holds and the truth she teaches. How could it?

As for your own children, the same rules apply with anyone- teachers, sports coaches, uncles and aunties even as apply with priests. Look out for tell tale signs- unusual behaviour, repeated attempts to get a child on his or her own (for one to one tuition, because they’re special, that kind of thing). Beware of any adult being over interested in one of your children, buying them gifts, leaving the others out etc. Be aware if an adult doesn’t want you to be a part of their plans for your child or seems more interested in forming a relationship with your child rather than you!


#3

There are also a few articles on Catholic Answers you might like to read through catholic.com/library/A_Crisis_of_Saints.asp


#4

Someone once asked him to address the situation of the scandal caused by so many of his brother priests. What Francis de Sales said is as important for us today as it was then. He did not pull any punches. He said, "While those who give scandal are guilty of the spiritual equivalent of murder , those who take scandal-who allow scandals to destroy their faith-are guilty of spiritual suicide." They are guilty, he said, of cutting off their life with Christ by abandoning the source of life in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. He went among the people in Switzerland trying to prevent their committing spiritual suicide on account of the scandals. As a priest today I would say the same thing to you.

Very true. I love the quote about spiritual murder and spiritual suicide.

Jesus is with us, as he promised, until the end of time. He is still in the boat. Just as out of Judas’s betrayal he achieved the greatest victory in the universe-our salvation through his passion, death and resurrection-so out of this new scandal he may bring, wants

to bring, a new rebirth of holiness, a new Acts of the Apostles for the twenty-first century, with each of us-and that includes you-playing a starring role. Now is the time for real men and women of the Church to stand up. Now is the time for saints. How will you respond?

Quite a charge. Motivational, even.


#5

It is criminal behavior and children should be kept away from criminals. The problem is you can’t tell who is and who is not a criminal from outward appearances. Otherwise you would have to keep children away from, Teachers, Coaches, Scout leaders, Janitors, Ministers, not just Catholic priests. Because if you search the papers you find people from all these and other walks of life being charged. Oh and don’t forget, uncles, aunts, cousins, because 80% of child abuse happens within families by family members.


#6

As previous posters have said, you obviously can’t defend such reprehensible acts. That being said, we still need a little some perspective on the whole thing.

First, most of these crimes took place in the 60s, 70s, and early 80s. They just didn’t come out until recently. It happens much less often today than it did back in those years.

Second, a kid is much more likely to be abused by a public school teacher than by a Catholic priest. It just doesn’t make for as good of a headline.

Here’s a good article for some more info: Sexual Abuse In Social Context

Again, I repeat that I in no way would try to defend or excuse these acts. But it does not make sense to live in fear of every priest as the media would have us believe is necessary. 99% of all priests are not guilty of this crime and are (generally) very good men. But they have certainly suffered because of the 1% that is guilty. At the very least, it would be intellectually dishonest to paint with such a broad brush as though all priests are guilty of this crime.

You will probably encounter these types of comments quite often. I think the best thing to do is to acknowledge that these (small minority of) priests have committed very grave, inexcusable sins, but that does not make the Catholic Church untrue. One out of twelve (8.3%) of Jesus’ handpicked closest followers betrayed Him to death and then killed himself. Jesus promised to be with the Church, but He never promised all Her leaders would be perfect!


#7

RodneyJ: Where did you get the St Fancis De Sales quote about spiritual murder and spiritual suicide? can you tell us your reference?

"Someone once asked him to address the situation of the scandal caused by so many of his brother priests. What Francis de Sales said is as important for us today as it was then. He did not pull any punches. He said, "While those who give scandal are guilty of the spiritual equivalent of murder , those who take scandal-who allow scandals to destroy their faith-are guilty of spiritual suicide." They are guilty, he said, of cutting off their life with Christ by abandoning the source of life in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. He went among the people in Switzerland trying to prevent their committing spiritual suicide on account of the scandals. As a priest today I would say the same thing to you. "


#8

I’m not Rodney, but I think the quote came the article linked to in the previous post: catholic.com/library/A_Crisis_of_Saints.asp . :slight_smile:


#9

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