Readers respond to Register stories.
Our prayers for Church transparency and accountability should be quickly answered if we temporarily stop donating to official Catholic organizations. This means fasting for a time from financial gifts to dioceses, parishes, grade schools and religious institutes exempted from the usual Form 990 disclosures required for other nonprofits.
The proper stewardship of donations will provide a needed check and balance to the authority of the hierarchy. To begin the process of regaining donor trust, bishops can instruct official Catholic institutions to voluntarily submit a Form 990, disclose regular audits of all assets, and invite their attorneys general to check for crimes and cover-ups.
In the meantime, there are plenty of nonprofits that live in the light of Christ and need support.
Regarding “The 6 Habits of Highly Ineffective Church People” (NCRegister.com and page 11 this issue):
The Catholic Church is in a downward spiral, plummeting at a rate that makes one’s head spin. Until the powers that rule this organization realize that it is running on only 50% of its power (no women are representative in the power of the Vatican), the engines are going to have a tough time starting up again. No machine can run forever on half-power. It’s had its heyday for more than 2,000 years! Ladies, it’s time to say, “Enough already!”
Why aren’t Catholic women of the 21st century marching in the streets, into the churches and cathedrals? Why are they not demanding of their deacons, parish priests, monsignors, bishops and cardinals (are they really all men?) to be heard, seen and, most importantly, be an equal partner in the process of salvaging the mess that now exists. How can Catholic women today still be sitting in the back of the bus? Do any women even know what goes on in the Vatican?
How did Rosa Parks have the guts to stand up to the scary white supremacists and defy hundreds of years of subservience? Are Catholic women that afraid of the men who have wronged thousands of children under their care? Why aren’t Catholic women moving to the front of the church, demanding to become deacons and eventually priests, even if they have to sit or stand on the altar to get someone’s attention?
They wouldn’t even be putting their lives on the line like Rosa Parks did.
A call to action is needed — one that will see women storming the Bastille and standing on the altar alongside the deacons and priests. Every parish priest should be (at least) including a prayer in the Mass for the victims of the pedophile priests who were allowed to continue their heinous deeds for too many years. A part of the Mass is the “Prayer of the Faithful.” The first prayer should be for all the victims who endured years of sickening mistreatment at the hands of pedophile priests and their “friends.” Come on, men. God is watching. Do the right thing.
In response to “Cardinal Sins” (Letters to the Editor, Sept. 2 issue), what the writer is missing is that his proposed solution has little connection to the principal underlying cause of the scandalous actions. The problem is homosexuality and the pervasive homosexual culture that has existed in the seminaries and parishes. The reality is that homosexual acts account for 80% of the revolting violations. Having married priests will have little effect in addressing the real problem. I believe, however, it would be successful in bringing the next “brand” of scandal: that is, priests unfaithful to their wives and divorced priests — given our frail, weakened human nature. Does the Church need this new prospect?
The second part of his solution — to admit women to the priesthood — would be equally ineffective. Moreover, women are not immune to committing adultery since women can sin just as easily and frequently as men. But the real answer to the possibility of women being ordained to the priesthood is that it is not possible because it is settled doctrine.
St. John Paul II the Great declared the question closed in his letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, stating, “I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women.”
But let’s look at this in a simpler manner. The priest acts in persona Christi. Christ is undeniably a man, the Son of God. If the words said at the consecration of the Eucharist are said by a woman, the proclamation, “This is my Body” would be a contradiction.
I submit that the only solution to the crisis of homosexuality in the seminaries and priesthood is a really strict selection criteria in the recruitment process, with the understanding that homosexuals “need not apply.” Then utilize the military model of a tough “boot camp” to weed out the weak, making the remnant fit and ready to engage the “enemy” on the moral battlefield.
Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey
In reference to “Cardinal Sins” (Letters to the Editor, Sept. 2 issue), I suggest to the person who thinks the priesthood should be open to married men and even women that he read Matthew 19:9-12, where Jesus is responding to the disciples who were saying that it was not expedient to marry if divorce was not an option.
Jesus says, “Not all men can receive this precept (of not marrying), but only those to whom it is given.” He goes on to say, “... and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive it, let him receive it.” Jesus himself was celibate. There is a reason for it.
Married priests are not exempt from being sinners or abusers, nor exempt from divorce.
As for women priests, women can’t be fathers.
Gay Maria Carter
Disunity at the Top
We are fortunate to have the very recent precedent of Benedict XVI’s resignation from the papacy. I join my voice to those who call for the resignation of Pope Francis, although I fear that, as Pope Francis exhorts others to dialogue but does not deign even to respond to those who respectfully request doctrinal clarifications of him, he will never resign.
The Pope offered us a preview of his pontificate with his infamous first words: “Who am I to judge?” Since then, we have had a series of ambiguous doctrinal statements, appointments as bishops and committee members of celebrated dissenters and liberal throwbacks, and off-the-cuff rhetorical flourishes that leave the faithful awaiting in vain an explanation of what the Pope actually meant. Pope Francis appears to be systematically destroying the unity and clarity Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI had labored so tirelessly to restore to the Church after all the post-Conciliar confusion and turmoil.
How many times have I wished that the Pope had not spoken when questioned by reporters. Now, on the one occasion that Pope Francis should have responded, all he offered was: “I will not say a single word.” Those would be the perfect words with which to conclude his pontificate.
St. Augustine’s Balm
In the face of the allegations against Archbishop McCarrick, and the host of cases of abuse and enabling across the entire world by Catholic priests and bishops over decades, I’d like to offer some consoling words, not only to Catholic readers, but to all readers of goodwill who are scandalized when people of faith do not live up to their supposed ideals. I sent these words earlier this year to an attorney friend who had become so very disheartened while defending Catholic dioceses against civil lawsuits concerning abuse. (The scope of victims is indeed large.) It is an excerpt from a sermon on Psalm 31 preached by St. Augustine (354-430 A.D.), bishop of Hippo, North Africa. It is the third sermon preached on the same Psalm “in a country church” over a short period of time and is undated. I have led a group of parishioners in reading St. Augustine for six years, and this sermon happened to be the subject of our discussion this past weekend.
The bad Christians who take part in sacraments and mysteries live worse lives than those who never come near them — well, why shouldn’t I say [this] openly in plain English for once. … If I mustn’t dare say it at other times … how many people do you suppose there are, my friends, who would like to become Christians but are put off by the bad habits of Christians? They are our neighbors, and, to them, we have seemed to be an excessive disgrace. … When a man sees so many leading evil lives, hears of people he thought well of being found out in wrongdoing, he begins to be afraid that perhaps all good people — all he thought were good — are in fact bad.
“A man of such good standing too! Just fancy his falling as low as that and getting mixed up in that scandal, that dirty business, that criminal affair! Are they all like that, do you think?”
“Ah, but unless you flattered yourself that you weren’t like that, that you would never do such a thing, perhaps you wouldn’t have these doubts about everyone else. So you are afraid they are all rotten, eh? Are you rotten?”
“No, you lead a good life, of course, eminently respectable. And do you imagine that you are the only one?”
… So never go and say that you are the only one. … The one remedy among all the scandals that disfigure the Church is not to think evil of your brother. Be in all humility what you would like him to be, and you won’t think that he is what you hope you are not …
James M. Thunder
Dig for the Facts
Regarding “Ex-Nuncio Accuses Pope Francis of Failing to Act on McCarrick’s Abuse” (Aug. 25 at NCRegister.com):
Please, for the sake of the Church, do journalistic investigation, and dig, dig, dig until you uncover the truth about how deep and wide the moral decay of the Church is. A free press is important to keep corruption down because of its investigative nature. If we have ever needed factual, hard investigative journalism, it is now. It may take months (or years) to dig and put the pieces together, but we need you to help the Church.
If there is truly a “lavender mafia,” it needs to be exposed. Cocaine-fueled orgies at the Vatican, archbishops taking seminarians to their beach house, flagrant disregard of Church teachings — all this needs to be exposed.
Please, please, please help! The Church won’t, or can’t, police itself — so outside agencies need to.
- letters to the editor