The Laity Demand Justice and Action

The McCarrick scandal has pushed the Catholic laity to its breaking point, but will anyone hear our demands for contrition and justice?

Archbishop Theodore McCarrick
Archbishop Theodore McCarrick (photo: Photo: Wikipedia)

“Now will you finally leave the Catholic Church?”

What do you do when there’s an intruder in your home? You defend yourself, your family, and your property. You call the police. Someone is in your home when they ought not be. Logically, the intruder must be made to leave. When someone breaks into your home, you don’t move out and leave everything behind.

When someone tells me they’ve had enough with the Church and says they’re leaving or asks me if I plan on leaving the Catholic Church, it’s as if they’re asking me if I am willing to abandon my home because some evil people broke in and destroyed the place. No. I am going to stay and fight for what is mine and try to repair what’s been damaged.

True, the laity didn’t invite the intruders in or create the damage that’s been allowed to perpetuate for some many decades, but like I said, the Catholic Church is my home and there is literally nowhere else to go. If I truly believe it’s the Church founded by Christ Himself and holds the grace and sacraments needed for my salvation there’s absolutely no way I’m not going to fight for that. Leaving the Church is the last thing I, or any of us, should do.

It’s because I feel this way that, as a member of the laity, I am taking this latest McCarrick scandal so personally. It was an attack on my trust and my home, all of our homes. The fact that this violation was allowed to persist for so long is beyond inexcusable.

There aren’t enough words and official statements that can make this right. Not this time. Not when you have fathers worried about sending their sons to seminary and moms who are afraid their children will get molested alone in confessionals. Not when they, the bishops sworn to serve their flock, have personally put targets of suspicion and doubt on their servant priests.

Some bishops are even refusing to make a statement of any kind regarding disgraced former Cardinal McCarrick, who beyond disbelief still holds a title in the Church as Archbishop. While the statements that have been made are decidedly weak worded (even inspiring Bishop’s Press Release Bingo), using vague language like “physical boundary violations” to describe sexual abuse or, even worse, blaming things like the sexual revolution, choosing to ignore the issue altogether is exactly the silence that’s allowed the environment of predatory homosexual behavior to thrive within the cover of the Church.

The only press release I want to read is one begging our forgiveness for their sins and failures.

  • We need press releases that acknowledge their direct lack of action has lead to the destruction of lives, families, and souls.
  • We should be reading statements of resignations from all those directly involved and from those who turned blind eyes, not more careful deliberately worded excuses.
  • We need their word that they’ll weed out the sexual predators and then back up those words with action.
  • We deserve clear policies on how they plan to prosecute and remove these serial rapists. We want accountability and action.

At this point, anything less is simple posturing. Laicize, excommunicate, prosecute. Remove the intruders from under our roof. The laity won’t stand for anything less. We cannot continue to pretend the wolves aren’t living in our homes.

If anyone should be leaving the Catholic Church it should be all those involved and those who knew and turned a blind eye.

Given the gravity of the situation and the deep wounds of distrust its created, these aren’t unreasonable requests. The laity all across the U.S. have been affected by this violation of trust and as such the laity have a duty to demand these things and voice their disgust as loudly and repetitively as necessary until real contrition is made and justice served.