The sins of priests
The only way to cleanse the sins of priests is through the priesthood of Jesus.
The sins of priests are a shocking surprise to us--and a great shame to the Church. They are not a surprise to God. From before all time, He made provision for the healing and reparation of the sins of priests through the priestly death and resurrection of Jesus.
- Pope Benedict en route to Fatima, 11 May 2010.
- The suffering of the church also comes from within the church, because sin exists in the church. This too has always been known, but today we see it in a really terrifying way. The greatest persecution of the church doesn’t come from enemies on the outside, but is born in sin within the church. The church thus has a deep need to re-learn penance, to accept purification, to learn on one hand forgiveness but also the necessity of justice. Forgiveness does not exclude justice.
- 1 A call to repentance
- 2 A prayer for healing
- 3 Gay prostitution ring?
- 4 Reflections
- 5 Justice and Mercy Have Kissed
- 6 Renouncing clericalism
- 7 Links
A call to repentance
From the prophet Joel 1:13-15; 2:1-2 (circa 400 BC):
Gird yourselves and weep, O priests!
wail, O ministers of the altar!
Come, spend the night in sackcloth,
O ministers of my God!
The house of your God is deprived
of offering and libation.
Proclaim a fast,
call an assembly;
Gather the elders,
all who dwell in the land,
Into the house of the LORD, your God,
and cry to the LORD!
A prayer for healing
Father, we thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, to be our Savior.
On the Cross, He offered Himself for us as the Priest, the Victim, and the Altar of Sacrifice. "Through His wounds we are healed."
We pray that through Jesus' priestly ministry, you will heal all of the sins of your people, especially the sins of priests and parents. Rescue your children from the wrongdoing of their elders. Renew in our hearts the wonders of your love. Strengthen, chasten, confirm, and preserve our priests in their vocation. In Your Mercy, send more laborers to work in Your vineyard as priests and religious. Raise up new holy families and dwell with them in Your Son and Your Spirit.
May you be pleased with the sacrifice that your priests offer you; may they serve you with humble and contrite hearts; may the Communion we receive with and through them wash away our sins, cleanse us of our iniquities, and make us white as snow.
We ask all these things with the help of the Holy Spirit in Jesus' Name. Amen.
St. John Vianney, pray for us!
Making reparation for the sins of priests (the Judas Factor)
The Judas Factor: Jesus has been betrayed in every generation by those who have been called and chosen to represent Him.
Judas was the first of many brothers.
In our day, the sins of priests and religious is a grave scandal that has injured multitudes.
- The victims of the priests.
- The priests themselves.
- Others whom the priests have scandalized:
- The faithful.
- Unbelievers whose hearts are hardened against the gospel message because of the infidelities of the evangelists. Why should anyone believe the gospel when some of those who are charged to carry it are themselves so notoriously unconverted?
Don't leave Jesus because of Judas!
- St. Francis de Sales
- "While those who give scandal are guilty of the spiritual equivalent of murder, those who take scandal--who allow scandals to destroy faith--are guilty of spiritual suicide."
We need to use the Forgiveness Prayer
The religious, deacons, priests, and bishops who abused children or who tolerated the abuse of children are our enemies.
We must treat them the way Jesus commanded us to treat our enemies.
Robert Degrandis composed a beautiful "Forgiveness Prayer" that teaches us how to forgive:
- People familiar to us
How many times do we have to forgive the priests who acted as antichrists? "Not seven times. Seventy times seven times" (Mt 18:22; a favorite saying of David du Plessis).
Forgiveness identifies, condemns, and cleanses sin
We do not condone the sins of priests; we condemn them. What these antichrists did was evil.
The Hindu idea of karma is that evildoing produces evil consequences for evildoers. The evil done by priests brings evil to them and to the Church; the evil done by our nation brings evil consequences to the nation.
Christians can agree with the law of karma (doing good brings good consequences; doing evil brings evil consequences). We know God's answer to the problem of evil: the death and resurrection of Jesus provides what we need to make reparation for all sins and all evildoing. We need to join ourselves to Jesus' work on the Cross: "Father, forgive them' they know not what they do.
The Church continues to suffer from their evildoing. We have to clean up the mess that they made. Just as Jesus made vicarious satisfaction for the sins of the whole world, paying the price for sins the He did not commit, so we need to join with Jesus and make reparation for sins that we did not commit.
The same principles apply to the sins of our nation. The tens of millions of abortions undertaken in our nation with the permission of the government are a terrible evil, a great shame, and a horrible scandal. We need to make vicarious satisfaction for these sins.
Prayer of Azariah
Gay prostitution ring?
- Monsignor Tommaso Stenico—who has responsibility for matters relating to the clergy—was filmed during an encounter with a youth he was reported to have met on a gay Internet chat room.
- Several articles report that Stenico was ready to reveal a list of clerical pederasts, but, as far as I can tell, nothing came from that threat.
- The convicted paedophile priest who told police that other Catholic clergy used underage rent-boys was arrested for slander yesterday after prosecutors concluded he had made up the allegations.
- Prosecutors said the claims by Patrizio Poggi, who served a five-year sentence for child abuse while a priest on the outskirts of Rome, were “untrue or based on mere hearsay” and motivated by personal animosity against some of the clerics named. They accused him of attempting to coach possible victims to back up his allegations.
- Poggi is being investigated for the crime of aggravated slander.
Some of the antagonists of the Church apparently want a witch-hunt:
- We are to presume guilt, not innocence.
- Everyone who is accused is guilty as charged.
- The accused may not confront or cross-question their accusers.
- The accused may not have the help of counsel (secular and canon lawyers).
- The accused have no right to due process.
- The penalty is death. There is no possibility of repentance and reparation for those who have committed these sins.
Those of us who love Jesus and want to serve Him have to make repairs (reparation) for the sins, crimes, and stupidity of our generation of Judases.
In striving to rebuild the Body of Christ, we need to stick to God's blueprints. Some modernists (Protestants in Catholic clothing) want to use the scandal to push their agenda for combining marriage with priesthood, women's ordination, same-sex marriage, etc.
Doctors sometimes use maggots to cleanse infected flesh because the maggots only eat what is rotten and leave the healthy tissue alone. We should be grateful to the press for playing a similar role in bringing real sins, real crimes, and real evil into the light so that we may all condemn and repudiate the wrongdoing in no uncertain terms. Shame on the priests who have done such things, and shame on those who consciously or unconsciously let their evildoing continue! No good has come or can come from such sins and crimes against God's children and the whole People of God.
Justice and Mercy Have Kissed
Sin is easy.
Love is hard work.
Kenosis means death to self.
"Mercy and truth have met each other; justice and peace have kissed" (Ps 85:11).
No one is going to get away with wrongdoing.
All of the sins of priests and bishops and religious will be dealt with in full at the end of everything.
"He will come in glory to judge the living and the dead."
We have to hate and condemn the sins and crimes and stupidity of our fellow children of God. Evil is evil. Evil must be annihilated in its entirety. We have to do everything in our power to resist evil and choose good. GOD Himself is going to separate the weeds from the wheat and sift the wheat from the chaff. "All will be well again, and all manner of thing will be well again, I know" (BJ o' Norwich).
The kenosis of the God-Man on the cross is sufficient to make reparation for all of the sins of all sinners and all criminals everywhere in the whole history of the world. GOD has the power to "make all things new" (Rev 21:5). When we see how much damage has been done to the children of God and the Body of Christ, we have to soak ourselves in the love of Jesus and let Him give us "blessed assurance" that He is with us, just as He promised.
I am not saying that we should condone sin, crime, or stupidity.
I am not excusing evildoing.
All I'm saying is that "there is something greater here."
We have to be grounded in Jesus, rooted in Jesus, bathed in Jesus, held by Jesus, fed by Jesus, enlightened by Jesus, in tune with Jesus, empowered by Jesus if we are going to do His work and build on rock rather than sand. "Some trust in experts and some in pontifical commissions, but we boast in the name of the LORD our God" (Ps 20:7).
Not one teaching of the Church has been changed by the sins of priests or the stupidity of bishops. The Church has never taught that ordination makes men sinless or wise. That pious thought is part of clericalism, which is one of the ills that made way for the flood of scandals that are overwhelming the Church in our day. We can live without that belief. Our faith is anchored in our High Priest, not in the ministerial priesthood. Jesus is today as He was in the day of His suffering and death. He is betrayed by all of us sinners, but He is faithful even when we are unfaithful and undeserving of His love. He is the bedrock and the unshakeable foundation of our faith and hope and love. Without Him, we are lost; through Him and with Him and in Him, "we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28).
Yes, I believe what Jesus teaches us through His Body. Not one part of revelation has been changed by the revelation that priests can be sinners and criminals and idiots who are worthy of being drowned in a lake of fire with a millstone hung around their necks.
That's how it's been since the beginning. "I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock" (Acts 20:29). OK. I thought we were better than that. I thought we were done with the corruptions of the Renaissance. I thought that I could put my trust in human beings. I was wrong. Not for the first time in my life, and probably not for the last time, either.
This is a hard saying: Jesus has been betrayed in every generation by men who have been chosen to represent Him. There never has been a time when every member of the Church was sinless. That time lies ahead of us, after Judgment Day. It's not here now, and we are not going to be able to produce a pure Church by any form of Puritanism.
The Church is a communion of sinners as well as a communion of saints. When we see the evil done by our brothers and sisters, we have to forgive seventy times seven times. If we let hatred dominate our hearts, we just add another evil to the evil already done by others. Mercy matters. Mercy makes a difference. Mercy is soul food. Mercy is manna in the desert and mercy is water from the rock.
Hercules cleaned the Augean stables by running two rivers through them. We have an infinite ocean of mercy to work with. We can take all we need and want of Jesus' love and not deprive anyone else of what they need and want from Him. There is enough, and more than enough!
I do think that this is a great adventure and that we will look back on these days with thanksgiving and praise for all that GOD has done for us.
That glory is just over the other side of this cross.
"Through the Cross, light dawns."
One factor that contributed to the rise in the sexual abuse of children was the belief that priests are an exalted, God-like group of men who have power over the laity.
People gave them power and status that priests do not deserve. Many priests gladly claim these accolades, but the fact that they and other unordained Catholics preach the heresy of clericalism does not mean that this is a teaching of the Church.
Jesus is the true High Priest. He alone has the power to cause us to be born again and to be filled with the Holy Spirit; He alone gives us His sacred humanity and eternal divinity to be our food and drink; He alone absolves us from our sins; He makes two into one flesh; He places men in the orders of bishop, priest, and deacon.
This is a paper tiger. People attribute a false teaching to the Church, then justify their bitterness toward the Church on the basis of their claim that the teaching of the Church is reprehensible.
The sins of the priests and religious are monstrously evil. We know that they utterly contradict what the Church authentically teaches about the meaning of priesthood and of sexuality in God's plan of salvation. None of these criminals can claim that they were living according to the mind of the Church.
The bitterness about these horrors seems to me to be the fruit of the same suppositions as clericalism: whatever a priest does is done by the Church in the name of God; there is no difference between the actions of the priest and the actions of the Church; the Church is responsible for all of the choices of all of the priests. If we hate the sins of priests, then we must hate the Church.
- "Crimen sollicitationis"--"The Crime of Solicitation."
- "Guide to Understanding Basic CDF Procedures concerning Sexual Abuse Allegations."
- Benedict “Has Done More than Any other Pope or Bishop” to Confront Sex Abuse
- “Associated Press” Disgraces Itself With Error-Ridden and Malicious Attack on Pope
- Let's Get the Story Straight: Defrocking and Divorce
- "Sexual Abuse in Social Context: Catholic Clergy and Other Professionals." Only 2% of Catholic priests involved in the scandals (2004).
- "The Philadelphia Report by the Numbers."
- Jennifer Fulwiler, "Why the Scandals Increased My Faith in the Church."
- Ironically, the more the culture tried to paint the Catholic Church as full of sinful people, the more convinced I became of its truth. I didn’t believe that ordinary people could come up with a set of teachings that contained unparalleled wisdom; maintain them consistently across all times and places, even despite tremendous pressure to recant; and then keep it all going for two thousand years. And even if the media had been right that the priesthood and episcopate were full of corrupt and immoral people, that would have only made the situation more inexplicable in purely human terms—corrupt and immoral people are always the first to sell out and preach whatever message the culture wants to hear in order to get more power for themselves.
- In short, I saw something divine at work here.
- "Forgotten Study: Abuse in School 100 Times Worse than by Priests."
- St. Josephine Bakhita, patron of those who have been abused.
- My favorite class handouts.
- "The Judas Factor."
- "The Sacraments and the Sins of Priests."
- "Themes for the Year of the Priest."
- e-mail interview about the priest scandals.
- Fr. Hans Zollner, SJ: Address to the CYPCLC2017 with the CCP Intro Video.
- Catholic Priests Falsely Accused: The Facts, The Fraud, The Stories.
- Newsweek, "Mean Men." "The priesthood is being cast as the refuge of pederasts. In fact, priests seem to abuse children at the same rate as everyone else." That's still sad, tragic, and criminal, of course..."
- "Ten Years Later, the Church in Boston Struggles to Recover."
- "The PA Grand-Jury Report: Not What It Seems--It’s Inaccurate, Unfair & Misleading."