The Real Problem Beneath the Pedophilia

What’s the real cancer at the heart of the church? Not pedophile priests…they’re a symptom of a much deeper problem. Gerald Warner at the Daily Telegraph let’s fly in this article about the real problem underlying the child abuse scandals. I think he’s on target in much of what he says.

The secular press are fond of saying that the child abuse problem is caused by the demand for priestly celibacy. There is an underlying cause, but it’s not that. The underlying cause is that too many Catholics have lost the plot completely. For the last forty years the church has been infected with modernism, and the key tenet of modernism is that there is no such thing as the supernatural. What you see is what you get.

This serious sickness at the very heart of the church swept through monasteries, convents and seminaries. The honest priests, nuns and religious lost their faith and got out. The lazy ones stayed put and enjoyed a meal ticket for life. No longer believing in the reality and power of the sacraments, they drifted into a no man’s land in which they were priests, bishops and religious without believing in religion. What were they supposed to do? They decided to re-create the church as a kind of dining club with a social conscience.

When it came to sexuality, well since the invention of the pill, everyone else was playing around with whoever they wanted. The apostate priests had no reason to insist on such an outmoded thing as chastity, and if no one else had to be chaste, why should they? If they no longer had to believe in heaven or hell (you make your own heaven or hell here on earth don’t you know?) then there was no real penalty if your sexual tastes were, errm, unconventional. Homosexuality was presented as natural, and sex wasn’t for procreation, and everybody was sexually active, so why not play around with whoever you liked?

A therapeutic culture swept in and suddenly nobody was a sinner. “I’m OK. You’re OK.” You don’t need punishment or banishment. You don’t even need forgiveness and a demand for reparation. You need therapy. No wonder they covered up. In their anthropology no one was a sinner. No one was bad. They were just wounded. They were just sick. They needed help.

G.K.Chesterton said that “Every argument is a theological argument.” and it is always and everywhere true that a moral crisis is linked with a theological crisis. Benedict XVI’s letter to the Irish church rightly calls for a spiritual and liturgical and theological renewal. The pedophile priest crisis is not just a crisis of morals, but a crisis of belief.

Finally, this crisis of belief is not just a crisis among a few twisted and evil perverts. It is a crisis of belief in our whole church. Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots, Mother Superiors, Seminary Rectors, Theologians, Priests and people have all been swamped with something other than the red blooded Catholic faith of our Fathers. They’ve been tromping along like drug addled zombies following a feel good false religion that has been used to deceive millions.

We all need repentance in the face of this. We all need to turn again to the awareness that the devil is real, that sin is real, that nice people are capable of terrible evil. We must be on our guard. We must believe in the power and reality of the sacraments. We must be New Testament Christians with missionary zeal, the discipline of ascetical prayer and a warrior spirit.

Nothing else will do.

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  • ben

    I'm not sure I'd agree with that sentiment. I find it hard to believe that someone would sit around and think "well, since I quit believing in the sacraments, I might as well go molest some kids". Since the majority of abusers were targeting adolescents, and since that's a very different thing from pedophilia, there may be an element of how lax enforcement of the rule enabled a culture of perversity, but it doesn't seem like the dominant cause. I suspect that most non-priest molesters (teachers, parents and so forth) were somewhat warped in the 1st place, but then weren't stopped once they started down that path. Sometimes that means one-strike and you're out. Sometimes it means seeing someone else made an example of and getting out before you mess up. And I suspect the same applies to priests.I DO agree that a modernistic, no-such-thing-as sin type ethic could be behind that tolerance, as well as letting such people into the seminary in the first place, especially the true pedophiles. It's hard to believe that such monsters could hide their tendencies during the time they were in formation. Someone definitely had to be looking the other way, and a "you're OK I'm OK" ethic would seem to support that.Which means that modernism had infected the ranks of the Bishops and chancery offices as well. Certainly, the psychologists that they relied on were more concerned with the dangers of repressed sexuality than they were the damage done to the children or teenagers.

  • Gregg Maskell

    You and Fr. Z are "right on". We need all of this. Thank you

  • Fr Longenecker

    Ben, I hear you, but I am not saying this was a conscious thing: I don't believe in the sacraments anymore so I think I'll go and molest a kid." Instead it was a deeper malaise that allowed such guys to get in and to keep them in, and allowed such guys to think they could get away with it and they did.One of the notorious offenders in New York, for instance, was the nephew of an archbishop or some high up, and everybody knew the fellow was a bad egg, but because he was 'one of the boys' they ordained him and kept him going. It is this kind of deep seated complacency, corruption and sickness which is part of the whole mess.

  • Michael Brandon

    Having been Catholic longer than you on two counts, age, and length of time in the Church, even though I took a sabbatical from the Church in the 70's, I generally support your thesis.As I spent much of my youth in or near the local seminary, I met many fine young men who became priests. Alas, many of these fine young men ultimately left the priesthood as they became often not quite as fine border line middle aged men.Sexuality became the issue that drew all of them away from their vocation, almost all to marriage, an excellent vocation on its own, but not their original vocation.However, your remedy is correct for all the maladies of the Church. I left when I was 20 years of age, because the Church was "not relevant(??)." The truth was the Church was not in touch with Jesus through His Holy Spirit, which John XXIII was ushering in with Vatican II. Nobody was ready for it at the time, nor did they have a clue how to deal with it.I returned to the Church when I heard God's voice in my apartment one day telling me to return. Since then, I have been able to develop a relationship with Our Saviour, and repentance, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation are major factors in being able to have that relationship.Everything about the authentic Catholic Church is relevant.Without the Holy Spirit in our lives motivating and guiding us, we are foundering. We have been sitting on the whole deposit of faith, and have not been faithful to what we have had.But the Church is coming alive through the work of the Holy Spirit and the faithfulness of many of the servants of God."All will be well. All will be well. All manner of things will be well."God Bless You, Father.

  • Patricius

    I think your earlier posting "The Myth of Pedophile Priests" was more intelligent, Father. What is needed in this whole debate is some perspective otherwise we risk dancing to the media's tune, the religion-bashing secularists' agenda. For sure some pretty dodgy things have happened in the Church over the last forty years or so. There are clergy who have behaved attrociously but the vast majority while not necessarily great saints, are, if my experience counts for anything, good men doing the best they can. To take the exceptional instances and claim them as evidence of wholesale corruption is a highly suspect approach. It was, if I remember correctly, that taken by the enemies of the Church during the sixteenth century.

  • Elsasser SC

    Father, thank you for your 2 postings on the so called pedophilia scandal.I was looking for the study you quoted on your first post.

  • chimakuni

    in addition – we forgot the FEAR of the Lord. The fear (and pains) of hell – some priests are too welcoming of sinful ways and telling penitents that they aren't so bad.Of course I am not so bad – but I need to acknowledge my sinful proclivities and make amends…as in recognizing the sin, admitting it, seeking to be reconciled to God and receiving absolution.Once in the confessional I had a priest tell me that my sins were not sinful. I hope that my sin of anger at his hijacking the confessional was not too evident…I did confess that at the next confession with a priest who understood the fear of the Lord.Oh Lord, forgive us…

  • Stefanie

    It drives me crazy when I hear a priest teaching about the sacrament of reconciliation and yet the priest feels he must qualify what is a sin and what isn't a sin.I've always thought that if I think something is a sin and I want to confess it to my confessor, whether he thinks its a sin or not, it is his duty as a priest to absolve me of that sin — and keep the commentary to himself.Sometimes, it seems that priests prefer to negate sin rather than confront it.

  • Alice C. Linsley

    Without faith there can be no real encounter with the Holy One. Without that real encounter, there can be no transformation and spiritual vitality.Modernism is the enemy of faith. It kills when it dissects. This is why I held back from becoming Roman Catholic. While I continue to love the Latin Church, I have no regrets about becoming Orthodox.That said, there is a deeper problem here: a satanic attack on the office of the priesthood, verifiably the oldest known religious institution (anthropologically speaking). It is an attack on the Person of Jesus Christ, our Great High Priest.

  • shadowlands

    "We all need repentance in the face of this. We all need to turn again to the awareness that the devil is real, that sin is real, that nice people are capable of terrible evil."Amen Father, my own imagination has conceived all kinds of sinful thoughts in it's time, albeit not child abuse, but sin is sin non-the-less, so I acknowledge my own daily need of my Saviour.As scripture says in Matt 5 v30: (I'm using the N.I.V today, I'm in a nostalgically Baptist frame of mind for some reason) "And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell."Or as secular society would have it: "If your right hand causes you to sin, take it to therapy, and explore the temptation, it won't harm you, or kill you. You will become all wise about your inner needs……" Wot a crock of poop!Personally, the Rosary gave me victory over certain areas of repetitive sin in my life, self help books just watered down my conscience. The daily praying of the Rosary produced a relationship, friendship with Our Lady that sustained me. Oh, I began to neglect her, the way I do all my loved ones at times, I have this tendency to keep doing what I don't want to. It will no doubt continue, until concupiscence dies in me.Thank God for Jesus.

  • Victoria

    The Linacre Institute – Catholic Medical Association – nailed it with After Asceticism: Sex, Prayer and Deviant PriestsTheir studies showed that the collapse of traditional Catholic practises of asceticism – regular confession, prayer, penance and control of sexual tendencies – in the seminaries and in priestly life was a major cause in the rise of clergy sexual abuse.

  • Just another mad Catholic

    may I suggest a solution.We simply raise the bar for ordination/religious life so high that we only get the 'nutters' (as our secular world would say and even I do sometimes) like Mr. Angelica and Catherine of Sienna who run away from home and hack off their hair. We turn away people who would make first rate priests/religious and encourage them to marry – the theory being that the rejectees will make first rate spouses/parents and produce large Holy families = witness to true marriage, witness to Christ in the world (thats why the laity in my view have the hardest vocation)and lots of holy children who will go the lengths if need be of running away from home/hacking off their hair if thats what they need to do become priests/relgious. might agravate the problem of church clousures short-term but would have a posative impact long-term.

  • Klatu

    The waves of accumulating scandal hitting the roman catholic church will look a mere trifle compared to the 'perfect storm' that is shortly coming. For these growing, worldwide sexual scandals and endemic institutional corruption, having destroyed virtually any remaining 'moral' authority or presumption to understand human nature, are just setting the stage for the 'churches' worst nightmare: the questioning of it's very origins! And that has already begun on the web. Not by any atheist ravings, but with first wholly new interpretation for 2000 years of the Gospel/moral teachings of Christ. Redefining all primary elements including Faith, the Word, Law, Baptism, the Trinity and the Resurrection. This is not reformation but revolution. We may very well come to 'remember' the church as two thousands years of hubris, intellectual, theological self deception, retailing a counterfeit copy of revealed truth. Check it at:  

  • Julie

    You are right, I think. In Catholic school in the 70s, some of the nuns (wearing polyester dresses) complained about being poor, and noticeably treated the rich kids better. Shy and bullied kids got no (or I should say very little) sympathy. A nun taped my mouth shut in class once in first grade (humiliating!) These women were clearly unsuitable to work with children, and clearly were not truly religious and Catholic. I know I came out of Catholic school with no self esteem. I have always pretty much been able to recognize the Church outside of rotten, vicious and abusive people who get into it. But I wonder how many people did these vapid "religious" teachers drive away from the church? I think we have a new church coming, and I welcome the good outcome from this horrible trial. We have the right man leading us.

  • Vijay Chakravarthy

    Hello friendI have added your blog in my Catholic Apologetics and Commentary Blogs section, as i am really interested. Will you add my blog in your classical blog My blog is add to your blog list on the sidebar.Have a great day. I am your follower.

  • catholicinlimbo

    The priests didn't molest the children because of their vow of celibacy, child molesters are a breed all of their own. Child molesters are in every faith, every country, every race, and everywhere. They have a sickness in their thinking that can only be defeating by an immense faith in God. No matter how repentant they may be, they should never ever be around children. It would be like putting alcohol in front of a recovering alcoholic. This is why child molesters have to register, because it is proven they will do it again. It is an obsession, and it runs in families. No part of society knew how to deal with child molesters twenty or more years ago. Even law enforcement didn't do much about child molesters at the time. Nobody spoke of it, everyone shoved it under the carpet, everyone, not just the church, but everyone is guilty of those practices, including judges, police officers, and prosecuting attorney's. So why is only the Catholic church being attacked. This is a wide spread sin that everyone must seek healing from.

  • Deanette

    Yes, Father I agree with you.The "contraceptive mentality" is like a cancer in society. We think we can "play around" with everyone and anytime we want to.We have misused the gift of sexuality that God has given us for procreation. This is why God institued marriage. To bring forth life. -Deanette

  • Carolyn Lalli

    Modernism is not the root of the problem but has certainly contributed to it over the decades. Some of the victims cannot sue because the abuse occured in the 40's and 50's. Those priests were ordained well before Vatican Council II. Consider too that this situation is not unique to the Catholic Church. It is found in the Protestant Churches (Sexual Abuse of Children by Protestant Ministers: ), as well as the Jewish and Islamic traditions. It is more prevalent in mainstream society, especially in schools and camps. Even the Boy Scouts ( )The one thing we can all agree upon is that the mainstream media is using this opportunity to attack the Catholic Church. Having a central authority figue makes it easy for outsiders to point fingers of blame at the pope. We need to pray for Pope Benedict XVI. As the media whip up public sentiment, the Holy Father becomes a target for ALL that the Catholic Church represents, especially its sinful clergy. Pope Benedict must carry the weight of these transgressions. Help him with your prayers! As for the media, we need only recall the words of our Lord: "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone".

  • Deanette

    Yes, Father Dwight, I agree with your comment "people are playing around with anyone and at anytime".There are serious consequences to this type of mentality. The evil one is so good at tempting souls with the misuse of sexuality. God have mercy on us all. We hope in Jesus to wake us up soon. -Deanette

  • Lorraine

    I think this post is dead-on Father. We have tamed the faith to suit the sin of the culture and largely the people are in a state of apostosy, advocating and enabling things that are clearly contrary to God's word. Many are receiving Christ in a state of mortal sin. From my vantage point in my little niche here in Canada, I percieve the majority coming to church for reasons other than worship. How do I know this? The lack of zeal and the boredom is written on their faces. It is demonstrated in the rush for the door at the end of the service. The worship music is so bad I am sure the Lord has his hands over his ears. There is no effort to make the worship music worthy of God. Not long ago I saw a mother with her son(about 12 or 13 yrs) sitting in the front pew. The boy was reading a Harry Potter book all through the Consecration. When time came for receiving communion, the boy put his book down, went and received the host…then came back to the pew and immediately resumed his book. This is a good analogy of the manner in which many people are receiving the Lord in the Church today. The church where I attend in my community feels spiritually dead. I go because Christ is there in the Eucharist but the homilies are banal and I just don't get a sense of annointing that comes down on a congregation whose hearts are truely loving and worshipping Christ. I know what that experience is like because I have felt it on occasion in the past in other places. We have forgotten that the consequence of sin is spiritual blindness and we don't have a sense of the mystical anymore. We become earth-bound and the extra-ordinary is no longer believed or experienced. We have sevored our spiritual vitality by lukewarmness. This is when the evil one takes advantage of the weakness and makes bad become worse.The Church (North America at least) more or less has succumbed to the secular ideology of 'judgmentalism' from the culture and is afraid to convict people of sin. Charity and acts of mercy also means being frank about sin and warning about the danger of eternal exile of the soul from God. The Church has largely opened the door to the evil one by not speaking about sin in fear of offend someone. Many no longer believe in the evil one and the reality of hell and that includes clergy. That is the devil's greatest conquest. The only remedy is repentance to God for obeying the cultural commandments rather than God's Word. We need some modern day John the Baptists to call people to repent before it is to late for their individual souls that God sent His Son to suffer and die for. Thanks for being that for people Father and not fearing the inevitable attacks that go along with obedience to the Gospel and frank dialogue about what it teaches. All it takes is one heart set on fire to be the yeast that will set the dough rising. It begins in our own individual hearts and each one of us should be making the effort to have God refine our souls. Really, we are reaping exactly what we sow so let us all turn back to God and stop yielding to the dictates of the culture. The culture won't save us.

  • visionreality

    Bible reading is generally not encouraged by the Catholic Church. In the Garden of Eden, the only defense given to Adam and Eve to protect themselves was the "Word of God". "IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1Catholics need to read the Bible!

  • Father Bain

    It has nothing to do with modernism; it has to do with the marriage of celibacy and homosexuality in the Catholic Church. Eighty percent of the Catholic priests' victims are male. Eighty percent of the general population's victims are female. Solution? Make celibacy optional ASP.

  • Roger

    Father,Thank you for this. For me, it comes down to two things: the studious avoidance of teaching about and confronting “Satan” and “evil” by those who should know better— opting instead for the psychological approach to sin—and the tragic loss of the mystical in the Church. Perhaps they are the same thing. Sometimes I wonder if mystical theology is even taught in the seminaries anymore.I’m a Jewish convert, formerly very anti-Christian, someone who literally loathed the name Jesus. On April 19th, 2005, between flights on a business trip, sipping my cappuccino, I happened to see on an airport TV monitor the announcement of Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI. He walked onto the balcony, the camera zoomed in, his eyes seemed to look straight at me, and I was struck by the “sword of Christ.” I burst into tears, and everything I ever thought I was or wasn’t poured out. I was 56 at the time and by no means a weeper, nor did I have any reason to feel any emotion whatsoever at this event, and I could not for the life of me fathom what had happened or why. But there was no turning back from there, no matter how I tried. My wife and I entered the Church on April 7, 2007.For thirty years prior to my conversion, I had been on the track of eastern mysticism, and while I now see clearly all the errors of that path, at least it helped me to learn to appreciate and differentiate the varieties of mystical experience. I suppose that that was why the Holy Spirit touched me in the way it did, because nothing else could have reached me in the midst of the profoundly sinful life I’d led.I love the Church and agonize at her chastisement because of the scandals enveloping her, but in my heart of hearts I find that it is really not so surprising. My wife and I are on the RCIA team at our parish, and while we have an excellent RCIA director and really wonderful, dedicated Claretian priests, it is always amazing to me how little is spoken of Satan, despite how prominent is our adversary in Holy Scriptures and the Gospels. And likewise, despite the incomparable richness of the Church’s mystical tradition, and the saints and doctors who realized—as Scott Hahn puts it in “The Lamb’s Supper”—that the Mass is “Heaven on Earth,” it is equally puzzling how little emphasis is placed on the miraculous nature of the Eucharist, and on all the other miracles that make up the fabric of the sacramental Catholic life.What’s that old saw: “The Devil’s greatest achievement was convincing us that he doesn’t exist”? When one starts to believe that, one begins to discount the Spiritual Warfare that is the essence of life on earth. And since there’s no war, well, isn’t that armor awfully heavy there, pilgrim? Why not lay it down and kick back a while? I guess that’s why the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel isn’t said much anymore. I only learned of it because, after early morning daily Mass at our church, as the priest is departing, our congregation says it spontaneously. We are seeing the fruits of all this come out, to the shame and horror of every Christian. But also, in the devastation, one can discern the hopeful seeds of renewal and rebirth. As Joni Mitchell once put it, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” I hope everyone is praying hard for Pope Benedict. I have read many of his extraordinary writings since I became his first convert as Pope—or at least tied for first!—and am in utter awe of how he is trying to steer the Church back to her heart and soul. It’s easy to gauge how important and transformational he is by how viciously he is, and has been, attacked.God bless,Roger

  • mirium2

    Not until the media is finished attacking the Catholic Church can we expect "truth in labeling" to emerge into the light.Since when is molesting adolescent boys pedophilia?? I have always understood that particular perversion to be called pederasty.Literally all of the articles and reports I have read about the Catholic Churches problem with pedophilia have produced statistics like 85% of victims adolescent boys and the remaining 15% women and small children or numbers very close to that range.That doesn't sound like an overwhelming pedophile problem to me. It sounds statistically normal. That is to say you will find pedophiles in every walk of life making up a tiny percentage of the population. You will also find in the Catholic priesthood that there have always been priests who would stray and sin with a woman. Didn't the Borgia pope have his mistress and bastards living in the Vatican?Yes, these things are going to happen human nature being what it is, but the so-called pedophilia problem in the Catholic church is a joke. 15% of the victims were small children and women??Could it be that homosexuals were allowed into the priesthood and eventually took over? Well, if that is the case, and I believe it is, we will never hear about it in the mainstream media. It is not fashionable or politically correct to fault homosexuals for anything. After all it is just an alternative life-style. And it sounds so much worse to be accusing priests of molesting really little children not teenagers. Of yes of course admit to some teenagers but keep the pedophile tag in the forefront. This makes the priests and the church much bigger monsters.I amused the people who informed me that 80% of the priests in the Archdiocese of Baltimore are homosexual, by being stunned and unwilling to believe it to be true. I was laughed at and called naïve.Years ago I was unwilling to believe a friend who worked as a secretary in a Maryland seminary, when she told me nearly all the seminarians were homosexual. Over twenty years later she is still in touch with one of them who is a both a Catholic priest and an active homosexual. She is a protestant and she thinks this particular priest is “cute.” She also defends him as a very loyal friend. Well, there you have it. If he is a loyal friend and cute as well why should anyone care that he is breaking his priestly vows?Frankly, I think homosexuality has brought the church to it's knees although no one seems willing to say it out loud. I guess that's partly because of the media and partly because the people still in charge are predominantly homosexual. When are we going to get honest about this and in a public way?? Who has the courage to admit what is really going on?? I for one am tired of reading articles that point out problems that led to our present situation like loss of faith and mysticism and Vatican II gone haywire. These are all legitimate observations and real problems in today’s church, but I think all of these problems together don’t measure up to the damage, destruction and devastation caused in the church by homosexuality. And as along as it is permitted to continue our church will flounder in a sea of evil controlled by a gleeful presence which blinds our members to the shining light of Our Precious Savior.

  • ~Maureen

    Mirium2 has it right. Homosexuals are the Church's problem. The people in charge of the seminaries need to be under scrutiny, as the chancery offices seem to be filled with liberal women who act as the gate-keepers. I know of several young men in the past who were turned away because of their views on married priests and female priests. The truly suitable and orthodox were frowned upon and one had to appear liberal just to be accepted. According to my homosexual cousin who was in the seminary in st. Louis in the 80's, most of his classmates were gay and some of their priests and a "few" bishops. He frequently "hooked up" with strange men in the restroom at Forest Park. Then he found a stable relationship, he claimed, with a married man with 3 kids. He got kicked out for alcoholism. Rigali made a difference, I hope. Thank God.Then along came Archbishop Burke…heeheeee. I believe the St. Louis Diocese has been freed from the moniker-"The Pink Palace" to describe the seminary.

  • Mitchell

    Roger nailed it….it is satan that is causing this…he is viciously tempting priest. I am not condoning the priest sucumbing to this but it is what it is. We must pray always for our priest, because they are being attacked more than anyone of can imagine.

  • Jon_in_Charlotte

    Father, I agree with you, most specifically with the understanding of the neccessity of being aware of the reality of Satan.Pope Leo XIII' vision tells us what has occurred and is occurring in the Church. According to Pope Leo's vision God gave satan the power to attempt to destroy the Church. God asks satan how much time do you need? satan states 75 to 100 years. Now, it has been well over 100 years since Pope Leo's vision. Are we to suppose that satan failed in his effort? Or, would it be more prudent to consider that he has succeeded, at least to a certain degree.The announcement for the Vatican II council came in 1959, 75 years after Pope Leo's vision. The Vatican II council led to a reformation of how Catholics practice their faith, most specifially alterations to the Holy Mass. One glaring alteration was the discontinuation of stating the prayer to St. Michael at the conclusion of the Mass, which had been penned by Pope Leo immediately after his vision and instituted by him to be prayed after every Mass.I trust that the "smoke of satan" spoke of by Pope Paul VI, in 1972, is in reference to the modernism embraced by many clergy who saw the need to have the Church become relevant to the progressiveness of the 20th century, leaving behind archaic practices. It is this modernism that led to the feminist movement and the sexual revolution. A catalyst to these movements was the sense of liberty they provided, a freedom from the constraints of the past patriarchal and puritanical structures of society. It is this same sensibility that, I believe, seeped into the Church and inspired the desire to be liberated from the tradionalism and structures of Church teaching and practices. And, this movement was justified by the fear that if the Church didn't modernize herself that it would lose her congregants. It was this fear that was the fissure, or crack, that allowed for the smoke of satan to enter, from the minds of it's leaders into the body of the Church.It was this liberty from tradionalism that allowed for the infusion of modern and popular thinking to enter the Church and have it explore new territories. This exploration has led to wonderful discoveries, however, it has been for the sake of a destructiveness that has been the consequence of this liberty.This liberty from tradionalism was a catalyst to what caused the proliferation of sexual abuse cases within the Church. These tragic events are the product, or fruit, of the modernism, or smoke of satan, that has infiltrated the Church, in particular the seminary environments of the 1970s and 80s.The fruit of Vatican II is also revealed in recent studies that show that over 60 percent of Catholics born after 1960 rarely or never attend Mass. And, of this grouping 90 percent do not believe in the Divine Presence in the Eucharist. So, less and less Catholics believe in the source and summit of the Catholic faith. This progression in the lack of faith will rapidly worsen as older Catholics, seniors, pass away and are not replenished with true practitioners of the Catholic faith. The body of the Church has a spiritual cancer, as a result of sinfulness, and it is not receiving the neccessary treatment, the graces provided by receiving the Eucharist, our spiritual vaccine against sin, in the proper state.

  • pannw

    Father Bain, I'm not sure I'm reading you right. You believe making celibacy optional is the solution? So you believe homosexual fornication is appropriate for priests? Since you acknowledge that the abuse is homosexual in nature, I can only conclude that is what you are saying. Surely one of us is confused; otherwise, one of us is advocating sin. I pray I've misread your comment.As to Father Longenecker's post, I agree. Modernism has diluted the faith. When a friend of mine started petitioning the priest at our children's school for First Friday Eucharistic Adoration two years ago, I could not believe what she told me he said. Actually, sadly I could believe it. He told her, "You know that's just a devotional." My mouth still falls open when I think of it. She also told me she asked him why he became a priest. His answer: "I wanted to help people." Not because I felt called by Christ, or loved God… But from the years I attended that parish, I feel confident that it wasn't to help in a spiritual way. It was in a sociological way. Social justice is very big at his parish, or I should say faith community. A deacon actually told us that health insurance was a human right according to the Church, from the pulpit in a homily. The only thing that kept me from walking out was Christ present in the Holy Eucharist and the sin of leaving Mass early. In the three years I went there regularly, I don't think I ever heard the words Hell, evil, Satan, or even sin, during a homily. Unless of course to quote Jesus when He said let he who is without sin cast the first stone. We can not judge others…Yes, I know that; it has been beaten into my brain like such a dead horse. Sadly, the part about going and sinning no more was always ignored. I think he is a nice man who wants to do what is right. I just don't think he knows what that is. I think it was a failing of his spiritual formation in seminary… Honestly, I don't think he had any. Only a devotional…gah… He did finally allow Eucharistic Adoration, and it seems to be bearing some fruit, but there is still much to pray for. Father Longenecker, I keep coming across things about a Soviet plot to infiltrate and neutralize the Church back in the 1920-40's. Testimony by Bella Dodd, and another man, I forget his name, and a book called AA-1025. Some people claim it is a conspiracy theory, but it really would explain so much. I've read some online excerpts from the book and started reading Bella Dodd's autobiography online. It is compelling stuff and really would explain so much of what has happened. Communists in the seminaries bringing in the homosexuals to scandalize… The watering down of the faith… This is exactly the type of thing the alleged communist agent who claimed to be a priest from AA-1025wrote was their goal. If I didn't know these claims came before 1962, I'd think they were writing a history book about what has happened since then. As it is, it is more like prophecy, but since they were part of the plan, it would be prediction, wouldn't it? Do you know anything about this? I've brought it up at a couple of different places and no one seems to want to discuss it.

  • Volpius Leonius

    I fully agree with you Father.

  • marianna

    I’d like not to judge the guilty priests. Did they know of their homosexual impulses (for the problem mostly involved teenaged boys) and choose the church to escape the problems of being homosexual in what was then an overwhelmingly heterosexual society? Was the advent of Vatican II (1962-65) thus an opportunity for them to “come out” but in a secure, known environment? The instances of abuse climbed rapidly during the 50s and 60s, we know this from the John Jay report in the US and the Ryan report in Ireland, levelled out at a high level in the 70s, and began to decline rapidly after 1980. Did the election of John Paul II, young, vigorous and conservative in 1978 have any influence on the decreasing number of cases of abuse? They have done the church grave damage, but, by failing to act against them, couldn’t we say the Church has damaged itself.?

  • Michael Brandon

    What a beautiful place is the Body of Christ, and for those of us of the Catholic persuasion, the Catholic Church in the Body of Christ.Here we can all express opinions, though Father L is free to censor them.However, the truth is the truth, and those of us who believe in Christianity in the context of the Catholic Church are duty bound to inform our consciences, and to follow the Magisterium of the Church, which teaches based on the Bible and the Tradition of the Church. In our tradition, teachings do not conflict with the Bible, but support it.With Vatican II, Pope John XXIII invited the Holy Spirit to come fully into the life of the Church.This, of course has come as quite a surprise to Catholics steeped in rules and regs, which in our modernist society no longer fit our world view.It has been said that no Council of the Church ever made it into the life blood of the Church before 50-100 years. As we have the internet and other media available in this age, the 50 years seems appropriate, and we can see the fruit of the Council making its way along with the life of the Holy Spirit into the hearts and minds of the faithful.The wheat is being separated from the chaff, and what is left is a remnant, upon which the Lord can build with our cooperation.This is a wonderful time to be a Christian, and to be moulded by Our Saviour.Sin is being rooted out by the Holy Spirit, and we are called daily to conversion to turn away from the temptations of the devil, and become Holy because He is holy, and we are made in His image. Oh Happy Day!!

  • robert

    If the real problem is the Church becoming infected with or by modernity, why was the Church vulnerable to infection? Why was she unable to resist? Where does her strength come from, the grace necessary to withstand assault?

  • Michael

    I believe that modernism has certainly contributed to this problem, but it's not the cause. One of the most orthodox priest in my diocese was overly friendly with teenage boys and later turned out to be homosexual. He got booted after he came on to a young man in the rectory office. Cardinal Law was doctrinely solid and yet was among the most egregious offenders among bishops who reassigned pederast priests (few of these guys were pedophiles, as they were inappropriate with teenage boys, not prepubescent children).Some of the most orthodox and reverent priests I know are homosexually oriented. They have been open about their condition with friends and their confessors. I think the problem has been homosexual priests with an insufficient amount of emotional maturity and self control. Though such priests may be more numerous among modernist clergy, there are not a few of them among the theologically solid. These later get into trouble when they drift away from prayer, asceticism, and regular direction and confession.There have always been "boy lovers" in the priesthood. St. Basil the Great said that when they acted out, they were to be put into the custody of old monks and have no contact with youths. This was reaffirmed by St. Damian in the 11th century. In the 18th century, St. Alphonsus said they should be castrated. And after 1922 the old Code of Canon Law said they were to be thrown out of active monistry.Hence, it's not a new problem in the Church, but it is bigger now than it's been for a long time, and it's been dealt with in a more wimpy manner than was true during other periods of our history.

  • Gretchen

    I just want to thank Roger for his comment. He is correct on his points, and his testimony gave me a much-needed lift of inspiration. God bless you, Roger!

  • msc

    While I agree somewhat with the modernism comments I would also say that many of these abuse cases go back more than 40 years.The root of abuse is "Power" and the need for it. It has nothing to do what so ever with celebicy.I worked for over 20 years with young women and men and every one of them that had been abused (3 out or 4) were abused by happily married heterosexual men!It's about power people and in the Church the tendecy to abuse power can heppento both men and women at every level!For clergy it's about a complete lack of accountability and obedience!

  • tony

    Modernism? Child Abuse? These are the words of the secular press. Thank you to those few who have identified the actual problem – homosexuals in the priesthood. Predatory gay priests have brought the Church to the brink of disaster; and the refusal to admit the problem, in the face of overwhelming evidence, is symptomatic of the disease.May God cleanse His Church of this scourge, before more young men are soiled and more souls are lost.

  • Mike

    I tend to agree with ben who said that the molestation mindset probably was not directly caused by modernism within the Church. It was more likely the result of modernism that had infected the governing structures of the Church. There has always been a problem of sin in the Church and more specifically in the priesthood. However, it was handled differently in late 20th century America than in most past eras. Archbishop Jean Jadot was the Apostolic Delegate to the U.S. from 1973 to 1980. His philosophy was to move toward a more "pastoral" model for a bishop, rather than clerical or legalistic. The "pastoral" view is essentially a downplaying of Church laws and rules and an exagerrated importance placed on human needs and weaknesses. Jadot had a strong personal connection to Call to Action and was a darling of liberal Catholics. He appointed 103 bishops and assigned 13 archbishops during his tenure. The denial/enabling/reassignment of priest molesters and practicing homosexual priests flourished in that time. One must look at this piece of the puzzle to fully understand the molestation crisis.

  • Christopher O

    The problem is lust. Demonic obsession. Until we recognize this for what it really is, we will be playing right into the devil's hands by letting a dozen different philosophies dancing around in our heads that is contrary to the teachings of the Truth, thus playing right into Satan's trap. Words shape ideas. Ideas shape behavior. First, it is not a pedophile problem, it is a homosexual/pseudo sexual issue. Call it what it is, hebephilia and ephebophilia. The majority of victims are post-pubescent males. The USCCB has coined the term pedophile as to not offend the many active homosexuals who are still actively involved in church ministries, chanceries, education and music. Dare I say, what of those priest and religious who are active in their homosexual behavior but cover their tracks well or who are open about it and their superiors or bishop for the dioceses they reside in do not practice what Christ commanded, admonish the sinner. Andrew Greeley alluded to this in his writings back in the 1970's. Remember the word remnant.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    A great posting. It is both lack of faith AND the influence of modern wimpy moral thinking that has caused the problem. When Cardinal Law had a meeting of leading Catholics to get advice on the problem, William Bulger, former Mass. State Senate President, U. of Mass. president, and father of 10 or 11 was heard to growl "What ever happened to that millstone around the neck and the drop in the lake Christ talked about for men such as these rotten priests?"

  • maeb

    Nope. Thinking doesn't cause evil. Willing does. In any case, the bad willing was happening way before the pill or the Council or the current wave of modernism…..I knew abusive priests in your diocese in the 50's, who were formed in the 40's and 50's, and there are many stories of abusive priests from long before that.

  • Sister Lori

    I agree with this article on many things; and the main thing I believe is the cause of these atrocities–the sexual revolution and the world entered into the church. pornography consumed the world and those who lost their understanding, faith and belief in the supernatural were seduced by every evil. predators learned where to go but nobody was minding the store…in the church, boyscouts, teachers,law enforcement, and every place we respect authority and gave trust. Demons are real and the first time I saw them were in a catholic church between the ages of 7-10yrs of age. The problem is not perverted priests but much deeper.

  • Alice C. Linsley

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Alice C. Linsley

    Maureen, what you describe: "…chancery offices filled with liberal women who act as the gate-keepers…orthodox frowned upon… homosex in seminaries" and a breakdown of order in the church. This is exactly what happened in the Episcopal Church and explains why that body is now the fastest skrinking denomination in the US.

  • Christopher O

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • robert

    Would everyone agree that the problem is if a spiritual nature?

  • fried chicken strips

    I want to be a mindless zombie. Give me Adderall or give me death!

  • shadowlands

    I think it is unfair to keep calling this a homosexual problem. Personally, I have only ever known goodness and help from Catholic Priests, but as a young girl growing up, I met and encountered some really weird types of heterosexual married men who were also parents and even friends of my parents! Two of the weirdos were extremely Trad as well, so I don't think this particular defect of character particularly minds which liturgical hat you are choosing to wear.Fortunately for me, I would always talk about what made me feel uncomfortable (out loud!) and told one of the creeps as much, therefore hopefully nipping in the bud any further attempts at molestation.It did affect me though, crushed my trust in men, before I'd even begun and I got/get quite depressed. That's why I feel sorry when heterosexual guys attack homosexuals, as if the heterosexual abuser is some kind of saint already, just because he only lusts after women and eleven year old girls (the age I was at the time of my encounters). I feel like swearing now, so I better go away.

  • marianna

    This has been a very reflective blog, following an exceptional post for which we must thank Father Longenecker.But I wanted to also thank Roger for his inspiring conversion story and add a postscript…in a less miraculous way I too was drawn back to Holy Mother Church—after years in the wilderness—by the appearance of the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. When I glimpsed him at the beginning of homily at the funeral of late John Paul II, I first was startled. Then I looked closer at the face of a man who seemed special in his faith and his holiness. Was this what a lifetime of goodness and belief in Christ and service to his Church produced? Sister Lori wrote of demons, but I think that day in St Peter’s the angels were ascendant!

  • marianna

    Dear shadowland,I am a woman also, not a heterosexual man. While the predatory straight men abuse teenage girls (Roman Polanski, much in the news lately, springs to mind), predatory gay men abuse teenage boys . There is far more abuse of the former–abusing teenage girls–than the latter simply because there are far more heterosexual men than homosexual. But the past abuse of teenage boys by her predatory gay priests is the crime that is, well, crucifying the Church today. And we need to face it and fix it. And we can't do that if we don't recognize it for what it is.

  • shadowlands

    marrianna said"But the past abuse of teenage boys by her predatory gay priests is the crime that is, well, crucifying the Church today. And we need to face it and fix it. And we can't do that if we don't recognize it for what it is."I am the church. And the crime facing me, is the one I deal with, on a daily basis. I feel a solidarity with fellow abused females, even though my abuse was not related to a priest and I wasn't a teenager, I was a skinny kid that looked about eight. If the Church ignores what happened to the females, because she wants to focus on the homosexual aspect, she should not be surprised if females seek to have their voice heard elsewhere, somewhere, anywhere. And then indeed, Mother Church will have a problem, because the only way to get new members is for women to give birth to them, so don't deny and cast their stories aside so readily. The Church is also in crisis regarding female issues. To ignore their plight in the abuse crime is once again to send them seeking for love, acceptance and respect in other areas ( and the world is waiting with open arms). Our Lady does not ignore their plight. She will take you through your childhood and puberty again, using the rosary as a meditation, which will bring forgiveness and healing.And Jesus goes after the one lost sheep. Sheep are female aren't they? The male one's are rams.I can understand why women become feminists. I tend to deal with pain through the rosary or a drink, a battle that is contingent upon my spiritual well being on any given day. Thank God, I have this resource (prayer). Abandoned females, I feel dreadfully sorry for. I can see why the more intellectual types might take a political route to be heard, and like anyone in pain, the noise ain't always nice.

  • Christopher O

    It is a spiritual malady. A lust virus. Read the book by Ron J. "Lust Virus". "Lust is an inordinate desire of unlawful pleasures. It is a vice most widely spread in the world; one that is most violent in its attacks, most insatiable in its cravings. Hence St. Augustine says that the severest warfare which a Christian has to maintain is that in defense of chastity, for such combats are frequent, victories are rare. …Remember, first, that this disorder not only stains your soul, purified by the Blood of Christ, but defiles the body, in which the thrice Holy Body of Christ has been placed, as in a shrine. If it be a sacrilege to defile a material temple dedicated to God's service, what must it be to profane this living temple, which God has chosen as His dwelling?… The Sinner's Guide, Venerable Louis of Granada, p.275

  • Michael Brandon

    Father L:You could pretty much take each of the comments you have received, and write a post on them individually.The people of God are hungry to be heard and to hear the word of God.

  • PaxCarmel

    Yes! The Real Problem is that Satan can use even the best of intentions, even the nicest of people, even the most "progressive" of ideas… and he will, if we do not remember this:"The whole of man's history has been the story of dour combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the dawn of history until the last day. This dramatic situation of the whole world, which is in the power of the evil one, makes man's life a battle."–Catechism of the Catholic Church: 409

  • PaxCarmel

    Yes! The Real Problem is that Satan can use even the best of intentions, even the nicest of people, even the most "progressive" of ideas… and he will, if we do not remember this:"The whole of man's history has been the story of dour combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the dawn of history until the last day. This dramatic situation of the whole world, which is in the power of the evil one, makes man's life a battle."–Catechism of the Catholic Church: 409

  • lisamom

    I pray for all of the good priests who have to bravely wade through the muck. The people in charge of the seminaries, the bishops who turned away or hid the crimes are inexcusable. Well, it is out in the open now and all lay people who help with children are taught about abuse and children are taught about abuse. During a class on abuse I taught to eight year old first communion kids one kid asked me, "A priest wouldn't do that would he?" So many things raced through my head. I said no, because I did not want to ruin the trust of faith of an innocent child. I just ask that all in the Church live up to that and ensure that it never happens again.

  • lisamom

    I pray for all of the good priests who have to bravely wade through the muck. The people in charge of the seminaries, the bishops who turned away or hid the crimes are inexcusable. Well, it is out in the open now and all lay people who help with children are taught about abuse and children are taught about abuse. During a class on abuse I taught to eight year old first communion kids one kid asked me, "A priest wouldn't do that would he?" So many things raced through my head. I said no, because I did not want to ruin the trust of faith of an innocent child. I just ask that all in the Church live up to that and ensure that it never happens again.

  • robert

    We are a fallen race. We see the acts of depravity of which we are capable in our corruption. Only grace can save us from the hell we would make for ourselves. We hear Jesus's words that it would be better for a millstone to be hung around the neck and the person cast into the see rather than harm a child. It is inevitable that offenses come, but woe unto him by whom they come.No one is immune. Anyone can fall, if not into one sin, then another. Religious leaders fall and fail. They are supposed to be defenders of the weak and vulnerable and they become predators.Jesus called them whited sepluchres full of dead men's bones, clean on the outside and corrupt within, leading double lives. He told them they would not come to Him, but rather they would die in their sins.We have been through a very dark century. Now we will either turn again to God or fall into the abyss. We stand on the edge, priest and laity alike.

  • ~Maureen

    Dear Shadowlands,Just wanted to say I love your blog…beautiful pictures and I see how devoted you are. It's a great blog!I understand the feelings you shared here. A married neighbor tried to molest my sister and I when we were 8 and 7, respectively. He had a huge garden behind his house, which joined our backyard. We were entranced by his kindly attitude and patience as he showed us his vegies and sent some home with us. Then, after a while, he wanted us to sit on his lap just outside his shed…and he touched us, in a sexual way. My sister and I were very innocent of sexual things but knew something was really wrong. Our eyes flew to each other's and my sis said, "Our mom is calling us" and we ran off.We whispered about it together, wondering what he was trying to do and later that night got up the courage to tell our parents. They told us to stay away from him so we did. I felt like I was in trouble, when I felt that he should have been the one in trouble. My parents did nothing about it. I must tell you that the experience opened up many problems for me, and I'll leave it at that.When we blame the homosexual element for the problems in the Church, we speak of the current crisis in particular with the priests, as someone pointed out. This isn't an exclusion of the terrible crimes by other members in the Church. It is simply a focused look at what is going wrong with the priesthood.Any molestation, indeed, all of our Church members' sin causes dysfunction and pain in the Catholic Church. But, as you see, God is purifying His Church and all of sin will be systematically rooted out. We will have a smaller and purer Church, as Pope Benedict alluded to a while back.In the meantime, I see you have anger and that might mean you could benefit from this:UNILATERAL FORGIVENESS by Larry Christenson.I was in confession at a Women's Conference in st. Louis. It was in a large conference room and you picked a number and went to a station. Imagine my surprise when I got Bishop Herman. I confessed my great anger at men,Catholic ones, in general, their weakness and propensity to fail their families with lack of spiritual leadership, video game addictions, with porn, with affairs, with lack of attention to children, with cowardice, inability or lack of desire to save our country from tyranny…the list went on. I got my internal list from my own experience and more from that of friends and acquaintances. The good Bishop realized that I was suffering from unforgiveness and he told me that Satan can attach himself to feelings and increase them, to the point of rage. I was sent this CD from the Bishop's office after I called and gave them my name and info. So, give it a chance.God Bless!

  • kkollwitz

    "A therapeutic culture swept in and suddenly nobody was a sinner."I remember it…'sudden' is almost an understatement.I'm reminded of this:"During the summer of 1966, at the end of the Second Vatican Council and the beginning of the sexual revolution, the world seemed alive to new sexual possibilities, especially for Catholic nuns and priests, many of whom confidently expected that the Catholic Church’s discipline on celibacy was about to be lifted."

  • Bernadette

    Fr Dwight, Romero was assassinated 30 years ago today. Please could you do something about him to commemorate that – blogland seems silent on it. Maybe no-one's realised the date. Thankyou.

  • shadowlands

    Thanks Maureen, for the info. Oh and thanks for all the nice things you said about my blog too! I love a bit of praise, well my ego laps it up anyway Haha!

  • StevieD

    I have read of several young men who have left seminaries horrified at the liberal attitudes that they found there among both staff and students. One guy tried three different orders before giving up. His description of what goes on in these places is astonishing, the Church is paying people to destroy it from the inside. The Church is losing good potential orthodox Catholic priests because of the prevalance of the liberal modernists in these places! The Church's chief exorcist said in a recent interview that the Church has bishops and cardinals who do not believe! We need a root and branch 'clear out' excluding no-one. Is there any chance of it happening?

  • Robert H

    @pannw: I do not know anything about AA-1025, however I do know that the price the Russian Orthodox Church, that once most holy of institutions, to continue practicing was to cooperate with the authorities. Very early they replaced the patriarch Tikhin with one more to their liking. That was the first step of a long decline that continues to this day. One thing that was required of them was to influence the World Council of Churches not to condemn soviet communism, and to advocate for issues that the authorities wanted them to advocate, such as 'social justice', nuclear disarmament (since that would leave only the soviets nulcear armed), and that opiate of intellectuals, anti-americanism. While clearly it was not entirely due to soviet influence that the world churches took such a secular, liberal path, it was most definitely a majhor contributing factor.

  • ~Maureen

    Pann-Thanks for the reminder.I think I remember reading AA-1025. If the AA stood for Anti-Apostle and it detailed about how Soviets sent homosexual agents to infiltrate the Catholic Church, we speak of the same.Talk about Russia "spreading it's errors"!!What could be more brilliant than using the un-naturals to affront God's Church-taking men who burn for each other, (from being molested themselves as children)-and having them assume priestly orders in order to spread the evil, to bring down the Church from the inside?!The media disseminates these stories and voila'-SCANDAL. Now the Church looks like an arm of Satan, albeit, with a limp wrist.But, we all know that God has already won! Shhhhh, Satan likes to pretend he's still gonna win…don't ruin

  • Robert H

    @Michael Brandon You make a very important point and is what I have been thinking in the context of discussions of Vatican II. Being of Irish Catholic descent, and from Boston, I am old enough to have had some exposure to the pre Vatican II church, and also young enough not to have been a product of it; that plus the fact that we moved to the suburbs and my father, the Irish Catholic, understandably left the church. Back then there was a strict formalism to the church. People attended because it was part of the neighborhood, they were raised to do so, so there was a big social cost to not at least appearing to follow the faith. There was little opprotunity to fully express the faith, the love and joy of it all. What another respondent to this post said about the nuns in school is echoed by nearly all I know who were a part of that world. Recently I saw the movie Doubt with my father and he commented how relaistic it was of that world, although he did not attend parochial school. (For what it is worth, I think in the end it was as very small, petty, movie.)Vatican II changed all that. Remeber that we are from a very young country with a relatively short historical perspective. Mother Church is 2,000 years old. For example when people say that the church is slow to react that is exactly the point: the point is not to react but to respond in due time. Teh 50 years since is a mere blip, and if that is what it takes to get it right, that is nothing. the church did need to open a few windows, sweep away the cobwebs. Clearly they did not get it right at first. Up north sometimes it seems it has barely changed hearts. However coming here it is so exciting to see the vibrancy of the church. Perhaps the pendulum is finally swinging back. In fact it has been for about 30 years. The problem is that the first twenty years it was swinging with the cultural winds, whereas now it is going against them, so more slowly and agonizingly. I have faith that in the end the Holy Spirit will bring it into line. John Paul clearly did much to cooperate in that endeavor, and Benedict is continuing that process. (I can't help but recall that time JP came off th plane in Nicaragua and immediately, right there on the tarmac, chewed out the libertation theology bishop of Minagua, in ful view of the world, with his fonger in his face and all; awesome.)The last few times I have been to confession have been disappointing to me. the priest seemed not to take my sins very seriously. At the same time I appreciate that they emphasized the joy and love of knowing Christ. that is absolutely key, as I relearned recently by reading Orthodoxy and St Teresa and Benedict by Fr D. On the other hand, if I may be so bold, perhaps those other priests hopefully will relearn the other side of that equation, the sorrow of sin, that precedes a full appreciation of the love and joy of Christ. Finally perhaps that was exactly what I needed at those times, so who am I to quetion to whom God directed me?

  • Robert H

    How many cases of pederastry have occured among the Boy Scouts?

  • Robert H

    Perhaps lust is the larger issue? Revolutionaries attack sexual mores as the surest way to break down the traditions of society. It is the easiest way to pry people away from their old ways, and is the key to all the others. At the same time once in power they are at least as puritanical as their predecessors, since once you control/dictate the sexual mores of the people, all other attempts at control easily follow.

  • Christopher O

    Are we evangelizing the world or has the world evangelized the church?

  • FatherHaroldPotter

    But Modernism itself is a symptom. what really diverted priests was the loss of the mystical theology and the demise of proper traditional interpretation of scripture after ww2, and the embrace of evolution theory. God as Creator faded. The Church lost its masculine character after Vatican2. This resulted an acceptance of secularization disguised as second causality, God working through society and cultural change, hence moral change, changing to amorality.

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    So, Father Dwight, how would explain St. Alphonus Ligouri's comment that priests who molest children should be castrated? Modernism didn't exist back then. Neither did modern psychology. What did exist, however, was a hierarchical, politicized bureaucracy that focused on self-protection at all costs — as all such bureaucracies, religious or secular, do.Times haven't changed much in roughtly 300 years, have they?I would love to see devout Catholic finally admit that the ecclesiology that they love so much is also responsible for this problem. Yes, sin abounds in all churches. But those who claim to hold authority in God's name are mandated to confront such sin among their fellows forthrightly and protect the innocent. On this issue, the Church has failed to do this — and has failed miserably for centuries.

  • joe

    Those that ignorantly claim that these recent allegations of clerical abuse are all about, protecting the institution, are blind to the realities of the sick culture which has occasioned similar outbreaks of abuse over the past 2000 years. Ecclesiology is not the problem. The sick culture has poisoned the Church and the uninformed fiction spewed by the sycophants who worship at the altar of secular humanistic ignorance like the NY Times spread the problem. One of their disciples is an Orthodox journalist whose followers fawn over his ever bigoted word. Sound familiar?

  • Christopher O

    The real cause of the disintegration of the Catholic Church in America"Many Catholics blame Vatican II for the woes of the Catholic Church in America. Traditionalists claim that changes in the Mass brought on the decline while liberals say it was caused by failure of the Church to bring its theology in step with the times.In this groundbreaking study, David Carlin challenges both views. The roots of the crisis in America are not theological, he says; they’re cultural. Forty years ago the Church in America unwittingly sailed into a perfect storm spawned by the unprecedented confluence of three powerful social forces." Decline and Fall of the Catholic ChurchBy author: David Carlin

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    Joe, if any ecclesiology encourages a leadership isolated from accountability and willing to protect itself at all costs, then it is a problem! As I said, there's always been sin in the Church, and always will be. But those who hold authority in God's name have the moral responsibilty to hold themselves to God's standards and protect the innocent. Do we really see any evidence of that?God is not interested in structures; He is interested in fidelity and obedience. Those who revere structures over fidelity and obedience must give an account to God at the end of their lives.Mark my words, Joe, God stands with the victimized and not with the victimizers or their enablers, regardless of their ecclesiastical or theological standing. Remember God's demands as expressed through the prophet Micah: To do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God. Can any reasonable person say that the Church has done any of these things in this mess?Christopher O, Carlin's explanations cannot account for the abuse in Ireland, which has had a traditionally Catholic culture for centuries. This is merely another way to deflect blame from where it really lies: bishops and priests who have dragged God's name in the mud by their actions.Read Ezekiel 34 and Matthew 23, gentlemen. Those passages are coming alive right before our very eyes.

  • Gail F

    What a great bunch of comments. I think this is partly right, but only partly. If the number of priests who abused children and/or young boys (I'm not sure about teen girls) is about the same as, or even slightly lower than, the number of men in the general population who do so (the last estimate I read from a credible study), then the questions we should ask are very different. First, if formation and/or loss of faith were so critical to this behavior, then why aren't the numbers much higher? Second, if men in the general population abuse young people in the same proportions, and there are MANY more men in the general population, then why isn't anyone looking into the abuse rates of school teachers, doctors (we just had a truly disgusting abuse case here involving twin doctors), etc.? Personally, I think the proportions show that the formation of these men had little or nothing to do with their being abusers, but the confusion about what to do with them did in many cases allow abuse to go on for a long time. These are serious psychological problems, not habits that can be picked up by otherwise normal people. And while people are certainly correct that most of the problems were homosexual, not the far less common problem of pedophilia, abuse of young boys by homosexual men is hardly new. Yes, there are tales of horrific seminaries (thankfully, most of those seem to be gone now) but the men who came out of them seem MOSTLY to be, at worst, liberals. They did not turn out whole cities or states full of predatory homosexuals with a taste for adolescents.Sometimes I wonder if the bizarre times that followed Vatican II weren't somehow for the best. Maybe if we hadn't had them, things would be worse now.

  • ~Maureen

    I'm going out on a limb to suggest that society, as a whole, is only as sick as it's families. "Sick"(homosexual/pedoph-lic/pederastic) priests come from "sick" families.I cannot believe that becoming a priest (nor do you) makes one homosexual nor do we believe Holy Orders increases one's proclivities to molest or engage in relations with teens. (Although the media begs to differ)While there will be the exceptions: good families who happen to have a man that is "sick" through no fault or bad example of their own, most "bad" priests come from a background of molestation themselves (the recipe for "gay" yearnings) or some such horror like porn problems, which increases sexual sin, adultery and looking upon children/teens as sexual targets.All that is obvious, however, I bring it up because we are asking what caused the problems in the first place. How did our Church get tangled up with these "sick" people?The only answer is that the "gatekeepers" were lax in their duties to catch the "sickos", who would have otherwise never been admitted to the priesthood. Another possibility is the devious attempt to undermine the Church from within. This would explain how we have so many liberals running the sheep off the cliffs, and the sources of scandals, today. Surely, those devout Bishops who we look upon as heros today, have rooted out the sources of trouble.Unfortunately, it is clear that some Bishops are "sick" and coddle other "sick" priests etc. Many of the liberal priests must be curtailed as to their influence with the sheep, so if the Bishop is sick as well, he isn't going to do anything about it.Bishops: Look for women in positions of power in your diocese. Sorry, but they are often the most liberal, check and see what their "thing" is: women priests, abortion, homosexuality…because when one falls to one of these, all these sins become "accepted" so as not to have fingers pointed back at them. Grave sinners are apt to be very understanding of other's sins.Likewise, this advice works in a microcosm of the parish as well. Get rid of the "directors of religious education" and "liturgists" who spew liberal nonsense. Easy. So some feelings are hurt. Better that, than to be accused of losing the sheep when the Master comes calling for

  • Christopher O

    Joseph, I am a victim. I was abused as a child by a family member. Do I spend the rest of my life in bitterness and wallow in self-pity? No. I have forgiven. My whole family, all eight of children, were baptized, confirmed Catholics. Am I going to blame the priest that formed them as the cause of the abuse? No. It was in the sixties when it happen, at the height of societal sexual revolution, that's where I place the blame. What drove my older brother to abuse me, a decision to sin, influenced by the Penthouse and Playboy magazines he kept hidden under his bed. The abuse was one of the factors that led me to be addicted to porn for 40 years. By the grace of God and the spiritual direction of several good holy priests I have been free from lust for 1137 days. I have been on the front lines of this spiritual battle for many years,I know from experience, good holy Catholics, laity, priests, brothers, sisters, bishops, are not enablers, they are the ones that were there for me when I was broken and on the edge of the abyss who pulled me back and saved my life. Stop blaming the church, to do so you are blaming Christ, it's His church, warts and all.@peace2day,Chris

  • joe

    Mr. D'Hippolito Your entire rant is painted with such a broad brush as to render it ineffective.You have a penchant to refer to "The Church" as if it existed apart from its members but of course it doesn't . So we are all to be held accountable, some for being perpetrators and others for not answering the call of a clerical vocation thus allowing the abusers to take clerical positions by default. The vast majority of the clergy did not commit any of these crimes but the current hysteria, whipped to a frenzy by comments such as yours, indicts all, much like during Viet Nam, when every soldier in uniform was assumed to be a war criminal. Individuals indeed will be held accountable but to categorically state that God only stands with the victims courts the sin of presumption. You need to read Lk 15 12-32 and see your position in this story or Lk 18 9-14 and ask yourself am I the the "Pharisee" or "Publican". In essence you need to disabuse yourself of these broad generalizations which merely serve to engender inflammatory rhetoric but fail to establish solutions.

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    Christopher O., I'm also a victim. Besides, I have never said that every member of the clergy, hierarchy or religious was part of this mess. I take you at your word that very good Catholic priests and nuns helped you with such a terrible burden. But that fact does not countermand the fact that many priests and bishops did drag God's name through the mud by their actions. The good does not cancel out the evil; the evil are still morally responsible for their actions.Besides, criticizing bishops and priests who have committed grievous sin is not criticizing Christ. Criticizing an ecclesiastical structure that allows such men to flourish and gives them aid and comfort is not criticizing Christ. Equating criticism of people and governing structures to criticizing Christ is not only blasphemous but idolatrous.Read Ezekiel 34 and Matthew 23.

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    Joe, the fact that broad generalizations have some exceptions does not invalidate them. Regarding Vietnam, the fact that most American soldiers did not commit acts of atrocity against civilians doesn't excuse those who did, regardless of how small a minority they might have been. Same thing with sexually abusive priests. The bigger scandal is the tendency of bishops who faced this problem to place known offenders back in parishes where they would work with children, often without the knowledge or consent of either the parish pastor or his flock, and would do everything to cover their tracks when found out. Is this the correct behavior of men who are responsible for the Keys to the Kingdom?

  • joe

    You completely missed my point. Nobody is excusing those who committed atrocities in Viet Nam. My points is this. During the war, I and countless others in uniform, had to pass through airports and other public facilities . I flew so I was there on a daily basis. The inflammatory rhetoric of the Berkley crowd and their ilk made these daily activities very harrowing even though I had not killed any babies. Wearing the uniform was tantamount to killing babies and raping women. These accusers made no distinctions. So, I took the abuse thanks to those anti-war protesters who painted all serviceman with a broad brush. You are doing the same now accusing the clergy in broad generalizations and causing unwarranted suffering on the part of innocent clergy. You and others like you feel this is justified given this aforementioned abuse. I am merely stating that comments such as yous isn't mitigating the suffering of those who were sexually abused but increases the suffering of those innocent clergy who did not participate in this scandal. The means never justify the ends.

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    Joe, what you went through was inexcusable.

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    Joe, what you went through was inexcusable. But the innocent priests and bishops should stand up for the innocent, not for their clerical peers who contributed to this nonsense. God has higher standards — far higher — than the ones exhibited by most of the Church's leadership in this mess. To say that I'm blaming the innocent by blaming the guilty is absurd.

  • Christopher O

    Joe, Thanks you for putting it so well about the "rant". We are either part of the problem or we are going to follow the directions of our Lord and be part of the solution.@peace2day,Chris

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    Joe and Christopher, I strongly suggest you go to and read some of the posts and comments there. Leon Podles is a man who has written about the sexual-abuse crisis. He is a devout Catholic…and he is harder on the clergy and hierarchy than I am!