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2018 - September


     I have been in the Catholic lay ministry for over 32 years. At all times I have tried with all my heart to represent the Holy Spirit, the Kingdom of God and the Catholic Church with integrity. Lately, however, I have become very angry at the hierarchy of My Church. Sexual abuse of anyone, especially children, is an atrocity because it can have a lasting effect on the soul of the individual. In our inner healing seminars, one of the main things that stand out causing severe mental and spiritual anguish is sexual abuse. It takes a lot of prayer, support, and counseling to get through such a traumatic episode. 
   When Cardinal McCarrick was found to be a perpetrator, I was disappointed and shocked. When I found out that the Pope knew about his deviancy and shielded him from exposure, I became angry. If anyone should be dedicated to the truth no matter the cost it should be the Pope, and yet he not only deliberately kept the Cardinal’s misdeeds from the public but gave him advancement in position. I became angrier.
   Then the revelation from Pennsylvania came. Over one thousand souls were sexually abused by three hundred priests and this is only the State of Pennsylvania. The State of Missouri is now getting into the act with their own investigation.

   "Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley said this week that his office will investigate allegations of sexual abuse by clergy in the St. Louis area, launching an independent inquiry in a region that is home to more than a half-million Catholics."

   And it’s only the beginning.

   "Prosecutors in Illinois, Florida, Missouri and New York are considering or pursuing investigations into Catholic dioceses. The moves come on the heels of a Pennsylvania grand jury report that described more than 300 'predator priests' and more than 1,000 victims in six Roman Catholic dioceses in the state."

    What will they find? Do you think that these “predator priests” were confined only to the State of Pennsylvania?  I think not. I predict that it will be the same for every state that takes the time for an investigation. Why? Because the hierarchy apparently sees this type of behavior as a no-big-deal. Listen to the words of Cardinal Blase J. Cupich:
   “'The Pope has a bigger agenda,” Cupich went on to say. “He’s got to get on with other things—of talking about the environment and protecting migrants and carrying on the work of the Church. We’re not going to go down a rabbit hole on this.'”

   “A bigger agenda?” The environment is more important than the healing of defiled souls of thousands of individuals? How can any man who represents Jesus Christ make such a statement? Sexual abuse of children is a “rabbit-hole?” To me, this sick response is the very mind-set that promoted this type of behavior in the first place. Jesus Christ came that we might have life and have it more abundantly, but the enemy comes to steal, to kill, and destroy (John 10:10). To a non-Catholic who hears all of this, which kingdom do we seem to represent? I heard on a call-in talk show today a man who called and shared that he was Catholic but was now searching for another church. How many others are feeling the same way? Would you want to join a church that not only demonstrated such deviant activity but tried desperately to cover it up, all the way to the Pope? I also heard on the same talk show that the church in Pennsylvania was studying ideas to pay for all the law-suits that would be coming. I say bring it on, but I will not contribute one dirty penny. Think of the billions of dollars that these atrocities will cost the church that could have gone toward the building of the Kingdom of God on this earth. I can just hear it now: “The second collection today will be for the law-suits caused by our deviant priests; please be generous.” This may sound harsh but I’m angry. Only God knows how much impact this will have on you and me because we are the church. Gauge the impact on RCIA in the future because I believe this is just the beginning. 
   For some folks just by speaking out I am somehow being irreverent, and that is a major part of how this abuse began. The 19th century British politician Lord Acton had it right, “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Since the time of Constantine the power of the church was so authoritarian that parishioners became like sheep and were no match for the ordained hierarchy. I remember when I was in high school my teenage friends talked about the sexual abuse. People knew it was going on but people were too scared to say anything. Some of the predator priests told their victims that “this is something holy, so don’t tell anyone.” Imagine a young innocent soul who has been taught this by their parish priest who they consider is next to God. I know of one case where the parents informed another priest of the abuse and nothing was done. Think of how much pain these souls have been carrying for years. 

   Some will say, “come on, you know that all priests are not that way.” I agree, but that doesn’t matter. When people hear that 1000 children were victimized by 300 priests in one state that seems so overwhelming that non-Catholics will assume all priests are the same. We know a young non-Catholic family and they were going to send their daughter to our Catholic school this year – no longer. 

   I have priests who I love and admire, but I feel so sorry for them because for most people outside our faith they are guilty by association. I am afraid the Catholic Church is in trouble because what needs to change will not change. It has been following the same playbook for so long that it doesn’t know how to change. I believe that only when these men are criminally charged and sent to prison will it instill in those vulnerable to this sort of thing the fear to stop their abuse. As long as we Catholics tolerate this behavior and enable this dysfunction it will continue; maybe not to the same magnitude now that it has been so severely exposed but it will continue. 
   Here is what I would like in a parish priest:
(1) A man who is very hungry for Jesus Christ. He understands how our God is infinite and that there is so much room for spiritual growth. He constantly seeks more of a relationship between the Father and himself.
(2) A man who sees himself as a servant and not a dictator. One who sees the value of every soul and works to educate and empower that soul with the Holy Spirit. I had a priest recently tell a friend that “empowering the laity is dangerous.” I find that very interesting but part of the dysfunction that exists. My question is: “Why would he say that?” I know that when people are ill-informed they are vulnerable to abuse.
(3) A man who is more interested in a relationship with Jesus Christ than he is in the politics of the system under which he serves. The world system runs on the lie. The Church was designed to be a beacon of truth. He should be a man who is a truth seeker and someone who does NOT live the lie. That is what has gotten us into this depravity.
(4) A man who understands not only the power of the Eucharist but the power of the Word. One who loves and understands the Word so much that he doesn’t have to read someone else’s homily.
(5) A man who believes in prayer and its power to move mountains. One who always is ready to openly pray for his people. One who lays hands on the sick and believes that what he is praying for them is going to come to pass. A prayer warrior so comfortable with prayer that he doesn’t have to use a book to read his prayer. He should also teach his flock how to pray for each other and over each other. Prayer is the key into the supernatural; he should be willing to lead the way.
(6) A man who understands and desires his need for the Holy Spirit and all His gifts; and does not refer to the gifts of the Spirit as nonsense or nuts.
(7) A man who understands the role as shepherd and who sees every soul as a saint in the making; ever trying to add value to their lives. One who understands that his parishioners are on different levels of spiritual growth and is driven to supply all with food via missions, retreats, and seminars.
(8) A man who has a healthy view of sex (for married couples) and who understands his vow of celibacy. If he finds later that he is unable to abide by his vow, he should quit rather than subject his parish and the church to scandal.
(9) A man that understands evil and that evil is the enemy that seeks to destroy us and God’s church. Knowing this, he should teach his congregation about evil and how to overcome its seduction. For we know that we war not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12). Ignorance of this principle as expressed by St. Paul, and revealed by this present scandal, does not bode well for anyone and any church.
(10) This is my personal preference. I want a priest who understands that he has a vocation and not an occupation. Someone who understands the awesome privilege of being used by the Holy Spirit to change regular bread and wine into the Body and Blood of our Savior. Someone who does not complain about saying more than two Masses a day or seeks the pity of the people if he has to. If their Masses are that boring or tiresome, maybe it is because they’re more of a funeral dirge than a celebration. I’ve witnessed both. Believe me, celebrations are much better.
(11) And finally I want a man who is bold enough to hold his flock accountable. He is the Leader who holds a big responsibility for the future destiny of every soul entrusted to his care. If there is “sin in the camp” and he is aware of it, he should lovingly confront it. If he doesn’t, God will not bless his parish. We are one Body! Consider the sin of Achan (Joshua 7).
   It is my belief that Satan uses illicit sex to destroy more lives than any other weapon in his arsenal. Our Blessed Mother at Medjugorje, in one of her messages to the young visionaries there, stated that more people go to hell because of sins of the flesh than any other sin. Because of her warning, in nearly every novel that I have written I have tried to reveal how Satan uses sex to seduce and destroy many people’s lives. As you can see by all these sexual abuse cases, Satan has been working hard within the hierarchy of the Church. 
  I believe that if the Church considers this travesty as big a problem as I do then they should put together immediately a team of medical doctors, theologians, psychiatrists, and lay counselors and study why these men act out this depravity on these young innocent victims. Then equipped with this knowledge, they would know what to look for as they interviewed future applicants to the priesthood. In my opinion they owe at least this measure to the people, to the victims, and to the lay ministers who have entrusted their lives, their servitude, their faith, and their eternal destiny to this Church. But if the Pope has bigger problems such as “global warming” and immigration to deal with, then this “rabbit hole” will be covered over and nothing will be done except for a letter from the Bishop. That is why I am angry!