Here recently, I’ve been seeing news stories and posts on social media about the McCarrick scandal. And I know that scandals within the Catholic clergy have been an issue for years. So while this problem is on people’s minds, I’d like to address it.
First and foremost:
No matter where we are, no matter what our station in life is, no matter what our past is like, we are never excused from such actions.
I am a believer that every human being was made by and in the image of God. And I believe that every human has dignity and value in and through God.
Sexual abuse is never right. But looking at the issue with the belief that every human is created by God and with dignity, sexual abuse only worsens. No matter what, it’s inexcusable and those who decide to carry through with it should have to pay for their decision. Even if the person who makes this decision is a member of the Catholic clergy.
But that brings me to my second point:
The priests I know are good, Godly men. Most of the priests I know take their jobs seriously and truly care for the people in their parishes. In fact, some of the best men I know are priests.
Speaking as a lay person, I believe that a priest should keep their parish and parishioners in the forefront of their minds. Yes, they need to take care of themselves, but the nature of their vocation is to spiritually take care of the people under their care. They should fill the role of spiritual father to their parishioners.
But what does this look like, exactly?
A couple of the best priests I know are a perfect example of spiritual fatherhood. They are involved in the lives of their parishioners. They share meals with parishioners. They offer the sacraments on a regular basis, and are fairly flexible to offer sacraments outside of the regular times. They are more than willing to lend an ear and listen. They are willing to guide their parishioners. They pour their hearts and lives into trying to do right by their parishioners.
Yes, I realize that, like with any other group of people, there are priests that don’t look like this. There are bound to be priests who make questionable decisions.
With this in mind, please let me reiterate:
Yes, the priests who have made poor decisions and who have sexually abused others should have to deal with the consequences of their actions. But, we shouldn’t let these few taint how we see other priests or how we see the Church as a whole.
And it saddens me that this image of scandalous priests is the image a heck of a lot of people judge the Church on. People on both inside and outside of the Church.
But what are we going to do about it?
We should address that people and organizations make mistakes. And the Roman Catholic Church is by far no exception. But this is a mistake chosen by an incredibly select few. I think we should advocate for the majority of priests who are good and who would never think of doing such a thing. Advocate for people to see the good that still remains in humanity.
We should see the issue as it is.
Yes, sexual abuse is a terrible thing, and we should make help, and ourselves, available to those who have been abused. And yes, the priests who have made this terrible decision should have to deal with the consequences.
The amount of good priests far outnumbers the amount of priests involved in scandals. We should advocate for the good priests. And we should show the world, and maybe even ourselves, that there is so much good to be found in the Church.
And with that, I’d like to wish you a happy weekend.
As always, if you liked this post, please give it a like, and share it with your friends and family. And I ask that this time, please try to find the good in our beloved Church as well.