Why Remain in RCC?

Hello all, it is I, HabemusFrancis. I yet again am having doubt about my faith and “Sticking with” the Church.

It is not the Churche’s teachings I really question all that much, unlike many cafeteria Catholics. Its more just the whole molestation thing and the institutional Church’s odd response to it.

The more I read, the more the Church reminds me of the old Britney Spears song “Toxic.”

It seems like an odd and toxic place, for willing to employ pedophile priests for such a long time,( the whole “moving around” response to abusive priests was the norm from NY, to Philly to Ireland, everywhere in Catholic world) and to have people like father Groeschel saying teens “come on to priests” and other things like that.

I just find the whole argument that bishops and other people years ago “just didn’t know” enough about pedophilia to make good judgements about priests not too credible. Im not sure I agree with that, or think its true at all. My own grandparents were about the same age as those bishops from a “different” generation and were quite sexually conservative. They thought couples living together before marriage was immoral, were deeply opposed and repulsed by homosexuality ( more so than they are now) and did not like the idea of telling dirty jokes or showing dirty movies to minors, never mind molesting them.

I just can’t help but think the whole response to the molestation thing was symptomatic of people with the same background all living together and thinking the same thing. None of the bishops who made these decisions had children or a serious relationship, and were most likely not close friends with people who were married with kids. They say empathy and understanding of people’s pain and suffering is shaped by having a “shared experience” with them and being able to identify with them. I think that could be hard to identify with a parent of a child if you have none yourself.

Idk, all in all the hierarchy and priesthood of the Catholic Church, while producing many good individuals, seems to have a toxic and dysfunctional side. I know some might tell me sin has been around the Church since its inception, but is it really right to call child molestaters sinners? Of course the action is a sin, but from what I have read, the priest and others who did (do) this are basically mentally ill and really cannot stop themselves from doing what they do. A Jesuit friend of my fathers takes part in “monitoring” and “counseling” pedophile ex-priests in Milwaukee and he has basically told my parents that the priests do not believe they really did anything wrong.

So what are some reasons I should stay? I am quite discouraged all in all…:blush:

Not that I think their right, but you don’t hear about abuse in other churches, such as unitarians, Lutherans or Episcopalians on the same level. Where the millions of dollars in abuse payouts these churches have to pay for negligence, and the citywide grand jury reports on their failures?

Not that I think their right or that there is a correlation, but its funny that these churches that even allow gays and women as bishops don’t seem to have as big of a problem of sheltering pedophiles.

I can’t help but wonder how long pedophlia has been known by the church heirarchy and covered up. Hundreds of years? More.

I really think the problem is the celibate priesthood. It is tough for a normal man to eschew marriage. It is not as tough for people who suffer from these strange urges, particularly if the pedophilia they suffer from is also a same sex thing.
I don’t believe that being gay lends itself to pedophilia, but it seems that is mostly young boys these creeps have been seeking out…
A celibate church that provides for their well being is a good safe place for them to congregate.

I also think often about whether I “fit” in the church. The growing fundamentalism seems to ignore the merciful aspect of the church.

I get that fundies don’t want to mess with church doctrine, but why on earth are they so opposed to doing away with or greatly simplifying the annulment process. The Church should welcome all sinners. It often seems to me that the right wing of the church wants to keep people out.

I’m sure I’m being a little extreme here, but they should be aware that I’m not the only one who thinks this.

I have a lot of hope for Pope Francis. May he live 100 yeasr!

There’s a lot going on in your post, so I’ll try to respond to some of it.

First, I’ll just affirm that the sex abuse scandal is truly horrendous and scandalous and a blemish on the Church.

Second, I’ll say that the incidence of media reporting does not necessarily signify the incidence of occurrence. Any actual numbers I have ever seen show the incidence of child abuse in the Catholic Church as being at or below the incidence of child abuse in other denominations and even other non-religious venues (like schools).

Third, as difficult as it is for us to believe, a lot of people at the time thought they were handling it as best they could. Psychologists were telling the bishops that these priests just needed some therapy and they’d be good to go and the bishops made the mistake of listening to them. Of course, history proves those assumptions wrong, but that’s the information they were operating from.

Fourth, ever since this all came to light, the Catholic Church (at least here in the U.S.) really is a leader in child protection. The incidence of abuse at present is way down and other groups look to the way we are doing things now as a model for how to protect children. Every diocese has child protection policies which involves background checks, chaperones, multiple adults in ministry settings, and all manner of other checks and balances.

Certainly, this does not undo the terrible crimes committed. Nothing does. But the Church is moving forward in the best way possible as far as I can tell.

Finally, the sins of Her members – while being a truly deplorable source of scandal – does not undo what Christ has done. Either Jesus came to earth and revealed Himself and the Father and sent the Holy Spirit to guide the Church He instituted, or He did not. These terrible sins do not change whether or not it is true. And if that is true, where else would you go?

You really have to pray.

I find it bizarre that people point the finger at celibacy as the cause for the abuse scandal. There is no evidence to support that claim.

To think that having sex with one’s spouse is the only thing holding a guy back from abusing kids is, frankly, pretty insulting to men in general. I was never tempted to abuse children in my single years.

The only way such an explanation makes sense is if you buy into the societal narrative that each person needs a “sexual release” on a regular basis or else they will explode. That is patently false. We will not explode. It’s called self-control. And all of us are capable of exercising it.

Or maybe the fact that the Catholic Church is a massive, monolithic institution that has almost 500 million more members than all Protestants lends itself to a more rigorous examination and scrutiny on the world stage. The Vatican and Church in general is simply under a microscope more intensely than other, less centralized and institutionalized religious affiliations. Being the oldest continual religious institution in the world, it comes with the territory.

There are plenty of bad Baptist (fill in whichever denomination you’d like) preachers who do unspeakable crimes to their congregations. Except for them, it’s more of a single town’s issue, and less reflective of a larger, institutional problem. I personally know of several families off the top of my head who have had loved ones and their lives torn apart by such individuals, leaving them with life-long scars, resentment, and bitterness toward Christianity. To say that rape, abuse, and sexual crime is somehow a Catholic problem is frankly delusional.

The way the Church actually handled it is another thing. However, it’s important to remember that people screw up. People are wretched sinners. If you think that priests aren’t sinners, or that the Catholic Church’s agents are pure and immune from immoral behavior, then that’s simply a misunderstanding.

The question is whether or not individuals sinning therefore leads you to conclude that the Catholic Church’s ultimate mission and purpose for pilgrims on Earth is no longer valid. If you believe that Jesus established a Church with Peter, and that from Peter a successive line of Bishops have been brought into discipleship through the ages, then there’s your answer. There is hardship in the life of a Christian. There are trials of faith. I would certainly say that this is one of them: being able to distinguish worldly scandal from actual essence and purpose.

I have one problem though with the relying on therapy thing. Why would they keep moving them around after it became clear that they molested again and again despite therapy? Like why not err on the side of caution?

Id love to see some sources that see every denomination had it equally as bad and not just “protestantism.” Also, do you really think it was a generational thing? If anything, Id think the older generation would not really want to hear about “recidivism” and “giving second chances” because the act itself would be just too shocking to them. It definitely was not something that was accepted by society as “normal” in the 60s-70s, and was definitely illegal ( by statute at least.)

I just find the institution difficult to support, given the higher ups historical ( and perhaps current) view of the act as just a sin, like adultery or fornication, but not a terrible crime. We know American bishops pretty much believe that (now) but not as much evidence of bishops from around the world. Even today, the Vatican has not imposed something similar to the Dallas Charter on its bishops.

How else, but having such an attitude, do you explain Saint John Paul II ( while a great man in many ways) appointing a serial pedophile Cardinal of Vienna, sheltering and being friends with a pedophiliac, but highly orthodox head of a religious order ( Maciel) and not really denouncing and disciplining Cardinal Law in a similar way to how he disciplined Hans Kung and other dissenting theologians? The latter seems like an especially unjustifiable discrepancy between how differently the Church views different “offenses”. JPII’s whole attitude just seems reflective of the hierarchy’s as a whole, that until recently, they thought it was just a tolerable character flaw…

I suppose I am getting ahead of myself though…

catholic.com/quickquestions/how-can-i-defend-the-church-against-the-damage-caused-by-the-priestly-scandals

catholic.com/magazine/articles/three-great-lessons-of-the-abuse-scandal

catholic.com/speakers/talks/scandal-in-the-church-there-is-nothing-new-under-the-sun

Don’t be misled into thinking that the pedophile thing is solely a Catholic issue. It does happen in Protestant ecclesial communities and in other religions as well. In fact, a youth pastor at a local fundamentalist Baptist church was expelled because of a pedophile scandal that occurred.

@ aboveuser, don’t worry, I am aware that the vast majority of pedophiles are not Catholic priests. Then again, how many Catholic priests does one know compared to the non priest population?

I have read the above articles, and am not sure I agree with them either. I don’t see why its hypocritical for people to criticize the Church on the sex abuse issue while being complacent on pre-marital sex or homosexuality. While both are wrong in Church teaching, the former is justly considered a crime by society, and the latter, justly not. I don’t see why one should conflate the two.

Furthermore, I sometimes think that statues of limitation extension is an appropriate thing. It often takes a long time for victims to speak out about what happened to them, especially when prior to 25 years ago, it was very difficult to impossible to do so, seeing as they often wouldn’t be believed, or wouldn’t have the wherewithal to do so. More than money settlements are won in such lawsuits, often appropriate to compensate the victim for psychological, emotional, and loss of benefit damages that the hierarchy often was the “proximate cause of” and which of course had a “reasonable duty of care” in regard to the children of their dioceses.

In addition to money, priests names get released, making people safer, and more knowledgable. In my diocese, as a result of a lawsuit, the names of 14 previously sealed “credibly accused” priests will be revealed, which I think is a positive development.

Not to mention schools, boy scouts, sports teams, etc., etc. Wherever there are children is a potential hunting ground for a pedophile.

Dear friends loving wishes in our God

As we all know, sin is not denominational or racist or sexist. It affects everyone.

Due to the prevailing number of tempting circumstances and the lack of proper measures of constantly checking up on them, it may appear to be denominational.

Priests, since they are not married in this world, may be put into more temptation depending upon several factors. Like for any marriage in general, it is better if they also do something regularly to realize who they are married to and its daily obligations and duties. Some of the things they could visualize and do are: dating with God often, taking a vacation with God, making acts of loving God in variety of forms, helping the poorest and sick, having a live constant relationship with their Spouse.

May be leaders (or pastors) of other denominations do not have as many temptations as the priests of the catholic church, because they are married for one fact.

Since there are more temptations in a state of living (which is being available and married only to God), it is better if we do not hate that state.

This is what is happening in worldly marriages too; just because it has too many challenges and hard to get-away if it is broken, people admire and arrogantly seek to find an escape; which is in preferring not to marry but to co-live as long as possible; which is enjoying all the things that comes with it except for the crosses, children, commitment, etc… Gain without pain seems to be the motto!!!

Well, I do not personally know any better or am not in a position to play any part other than praying for the church and its priests. However, the church may have to improve its (continual) measures in putting priests in a position to prevent temptations and also to better deal with facing temptation as spouses of Christ. Let us ask God (pray) to give the church necessary grace to be the good spouse of Christ. What is wrong with praying for the church? Is there a limit in the number of times one pray for the church? Is there any sin that cannot be overcome by the graces of God? Is there any relationship (other than sin itself) that we should cut instead of hoping in God for its goodness?

To my spirit, the church itself punishing these molesting priests in unchristian ways is simply not conforming to Christian. Such priests, as any one else, by the word of God, have to be given opportunities to repent and get back. That would be the realization of victory to the Graces of God.
But I would prefer to see the church handing them over to the world law, if needed. Even if they die through the legal punishment, let it be. Who cares as long as they are given enough help, support and care to repent, to be forgiven and to love our Lord back again? Christ and His relationship to a soul is infinitely better than the dances of legal punishments and death themselves.

I would let the world deal with the world. Priests are no exception. This is just my opinion.
But, personally, I would not want to see the Church itself punishing them by doing anything to make them lose their core Christian faith. Because it takes my spirit to a quality that is not of our Lord Christ.

Unable to dig to find reasons, I personally would like to stay with the church and pray for it.
In general, if there is a problem, then prayer (asking the loving God) is the only solution I think. Going away is a different kind of attitude.

Any ways, best wishes to everyone…

So celibate people become child rapists because they don’t have their own children or spend enough time with people who do.

And since child rapists don’t think what they did was wrong, that means it was ok for them. Just like psychopaths who murder people aren’t really doing anything wrong. There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

I also like how you attack the recently deceased Fr. Groeschel for something he apologized for and pretty much went into seclusion after for.

I’m sure you also attack the public school system for their much larger problem of child rape with equal fervor. THis is no “tu quoque” argument, it’s just an observation that the people who attack the Catholic Church over this don’t really seem to actually care about the children themselves, just attacking the Church. It seems that the children raped in the public school system aren’t that important for some reason to the media.

Of course I know you’re already thinking I’m apologizing for child rape or something like that. No, in fact I’m really glad that the media covers this scandal so much, since it would still be going on if it weren’t for them, as Pope Benedict XVI said.

I just hope you can be consistent in your attacks, like attacking the Church for child rape AND attacking the public school system. If you decide to leave the Church I guess you will also leave the public school system too? Or like attacking the Church for being an institution that inevitably leads to corruption, I guess you tend towards libertarianism or anarchism when it comes to the government, right? If institutionalization leads to corruption, i guess you’ll be a libertarian when it comes to your views on politics as well.

I didn’t really say what you thought I said. Im talking about the bishops, not the pedophiles themselves. I was commentating how I thought it was strange that some bishops allowed priests to have quite a few victims without any significant consequences befalling them. I stated that I thought the “different generation” argument did not make much sense, since it would be hard to visualize my grandparents thinking or doing the exact same thing. The main reason I believe that is that both grandparents raised children and thus could appreciate better what bad harm that could do to a child. It would have hit “closer to home” for them. Of course I wasn’t alive when they were raising my parents, so I don’t know for sure, it is just an educated guess.

I do believe what the priests did was bad, I just think though that their lack of remorse or understanding of what they did makes it clear that pedophilia is clearly a mental illness and something few people can slide in and out of. Its either something you love doing or hate doing, and I don’t think there is really an in between.

As to Father Groeschel, I admire him in some ways and understand that he apologized and had to go into seclusion after. May God rest his soul. I just wonder perhaps though if he really believed what he said or if he did not, and was just a lapse? I would hope it was a lapse, and he truly believed that even if a lonely 15-16 year old was coming onto a priest, its the priests duty as an adult to not exploit an immature and lonely persons confusion.

The terrible thing really, is that Im not sure Groeschel was completely incorrect about what he said. Few of these priest molestation things appear to be forceful, violent attacks on little children. Quite a substantial number seem to involve teenagers ( still children imo, and definitely not adults) who got involved with a priest partly from a lack of a father figure or some other hole/loneliness in their life, and slowly but surely got sucked in to an exploitive sexual relationship:(.

I suppose part of it may be generational now that I think on it. I hear in years past that though sexual contact with teenagers was statutorily illegal, and definitely looked at as wrong, people 40-50 years ago, did not view it quite as much of a crime as they did today, and not on par with having a relationship with a little child?

I really mean no offense, its just an issue I have thought about quite a bit.

I’m sorry HF when this subject comes up it’s usually with someone with an ax to grind so my stock replies usually turn snappy.

There is only one reason you need to stay. Jesus Christ. Jesus established the Church placing very imperfect people to be the manifestation of Himself in the modern world. If you had an art teacher who did despicable things to you, would you reject all art? If you had a music teacher who abused you, would you reject all music.

There is no denying the gravity of the sinfulness of these acts. There is no excuse. Saying that it is not only a Catholic thing does nothing for me. The truth is, this abuse is more than just physical, it is spiritual and real souls may be prevented from entering heaven. How do we quantify that?

Still, this Church, guided by the Holy Spirit is trying to heal from these very deep wounds. It takes time, it takes patience and it takes forgiveness. It would be impossible to overcome this trial if not for the Holy Spirit and his gifts.

After the Bread of Life discourse in John’s Gospel, people were disgruntled and walking away. Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

Being completely disgusted in the pure evil that enveloped the Church in recent decades simply means that we are feeling human beings. But, leaving the Church, the Eucharist, Reconciliation, the gifts of the Holy Spirit…Salvation…It’s too much to give up!

Certainly, it seems reasonable to err on the side of caution, and your question is not at all an unreasonable one. I honestly couldn’t say how they justified it. I know for myself that things are always clearer in hindsight. There were some very large blind spots that led to such things.

The thing for me, though, is that the vast majority (if not all) of these bishops who made such blunders are no longer in charge. The current crop of bishops generally has nothing to do with these cases, which are mostly decades old. It’s an entirely different set of leaders that we have in the Church today. And I have found myself fairly impressed with the way they are handling things on this front at the present time.

With regards to JPII, I don’t think it is beneficial to speculate too much. It seems obvious to me that he didn’t know the sordid details of all of those characters. It’s not hard for me to believe that such master manipulators would do their best to hide such things from the pope.

Regarding the scandals, how is it that the PARENTS of these children are never put to any blame? They leave their young children behind closed doors with adults they don’t really know for hours, days, sometimes over night. Let’s have a little parental responsibility here.

If you allow your 13 yr old boy to go camping alone with a 40 yr old man… um, asking for trouble, priest, minister, scout master, school teacher, coach, neighbor, friend…

The biggest blame to me lies with the bishops, who may themselves be homosexual pedophiles, who allowed the abuse to go on, year after year. Nice place in hell for those people.

  1. Celibacy has nothing to do with it. Men with solely heterosexual tendencies are never attracted to little boys, teenage boys, etc. If Celibacy was the problem, then the MAJORITY of these reports would be about Priests abusing girls, not boys.

The fact that men with homosexual tendencies were not kicked out of the seminary is a root of the problem. Men who find boys attractive have homosexual or bisexual tendencies, period. Now, that doesn’t mean that homosexuals or bisexuals are automatically pedophiles, but being sexually attracted to a person of the same sex (regardless of age) is homosexual in nature.

  1. Another issue was the pedophile priest’s ability to using the Seal of Confession as a shield. Back in the day, if parents found out about sexual abuse, they kept it quiet to protect the Church. So, a bad priest could use Confession to “protect himself” from punishment. How? If the pedophile priest confessed his sins to the Bishop, etc; the Bishop would have to act as if he never heard this. He could not reassign him, could not laicize him, could not even move him. The only way to move the priest was by moving him when the Bishop was moving others around (which is why so many of these pedophile priests were moved). This also kept the Bishop from being about to discuss the matter with people. Only if parishioners or parents actually accused the priest of doing something, were they at liberty to act (if the pedophile priest already used Confession to protect himself). However, again, usually no one can straight forward with facts. It was usually only hearsay or rumors.

  2. Finally, when there were creditable accounts physiatrists were telling the Bishops that the priests could be cured via electro-shock therapy, counseling, etc. During the 50s and especially during the 60s, electro-shock therapy was thought to be able to cure homosexuality. And up-until the time when doctors stopped calling homosexuality a disorder, there were doctors who claimed to be able to cure it. So the Bishops were too busy trying to cure priests who claimed to want to be cured. But instead, they kept engaging in these acts behind the Bishop’s back.

May there have been some bad Bishops, sure. After all, we will always have a Judas among us. But I seriously doubt that most Bishops were technically covering it up. I think really more complex problem and then when the stories broke, the many bishops made judgment errors by focusing on PR management instead of healing the souls of the Faithful.

In closing; I love the saying which is often used by people at Catholic Answers. “The Catholic Church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum of Saints.” For almost 2000 years, the devil always attempted to corrupt the people of God by infecting the priesthood. Today, the devil doesn’t have to use the priesthood; he can use celebrities, the media, lawyers, and political figures.

For all the warts the Catholic Church may have; no other place is more holy.

May The Lord grant you wisdom to see His Truth and find peace with His Church. Amen.

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