I have tried to think of a time in my life when I have felt as overcome by sadness as I feel today, if there was a day it alludes me. The recent news of clergy sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church has hit the news again – and again in recent days. I will be honest and admit the scandal of 2002 went unseen by my eyes, unheard by my ears. I really first learned the depth of it just a few months ago after reading about the movie “Spotlight” in American Magazine and watching the movie. It has torn away at my heart for the innocent and even the very, very broken guilty.
Over time I gradually came to realize the stories I had heard of a now deceased Priest were most likely true. It has touched my own home and family in ways I never would have imagined. Because I refuse to speak ill of this deceased Priest and to protect any innocent I will say nothing more than I do know he was moved from one parish to another. I see other moves that have been made over time and even, sadly made the comment to one Priest that they always move him to the trouble spots to clean up. I said that long before I had a tiny clue. I am so, so very sorry.
I have spoken out against mandatory celibacy for clergy and religious after this topic came up, years ago now at a summer retreat. Today I extend that to include female and male. There are multiple reasons that clergy should be allowed to be married; the first being this is how Jesus founded His church (which was not even really a word at the time, I do find myself wondering what the word was and how He has intended its use). I have written extensively on this topic and most of that writing can be found in a link on the menu of my home page.
I have not had the time to read the full report that was issued from Pennsylvania, but I have read several excerpts that make it very clear inside the walls of the church, lies and secrecy – anything to protect the appearance of a holy church. This has gone on for decades and honestly, I would wager this has gone on for centuries. There have always been rumors, and proofs of abuse.
Recently we hear the news from Pennsylvania – over 1,000 children, 300 Priests and the claim this happened long ago. These are confirmed cases, they expect the numbers would be much higher but for lost records, and those who never came forward. – Then we learn it’s not all so long ago. Then more news on Buffalo, then one seminary, now two or three even in my state – and it is just exploding. Behind the lines, off the national and world-wide news for the most part. It seems some must be assisting in keeping things as quiet as they can.
Those seated within the church have known all along how deeply rooted the sin against sexuality has been. Raping of children, novices, nuns, seminarians, priests being “hit on” (raped?), by even Cardinals, tunnels in Europe between the nuns and the Priests, A Bishop funding the abortion of a Priests child and then offering condolences on the child’s death. The sin of forced complicity. The sin of telling Gods children they are not to have their (as created by God) emotional, spiritual and physical needs met by a spouse, but :wink: :wink: it’s okay to take in an elder, widow housekeeper etc. The church has made it “dirty” to act like Jesus.
Innocent clergy have been looked at skeptically for decades – now it is worse. It is not Godly and it is not what our Father wants. Today I read a piece from a Priest who stated “Anyone who wishes to be saved must risk the hostility, punishment and humiliation that our rescuer first experienced. Whether that risk leads to the death of the body or only the death of the ego makes no difference. Any who follow Christ must accept that to rescue others, one must first accept a cross. The temporary humiliation of some can ensure the eternal salvation of many. In regards to this Sundays readings.
The issue I have with this is I know that God does not want those who love Him to feel humiliated for the sin of others – and no – the sins of others are not their cross to carry. Jesus Christ has already done that – there is and will ever be only one Jesus Christ. We must all be responsible for our own sins, this includes those responsible for what has happened within the church. Loving children of God who entered a church and took or made vows or promises were also deceived – this mess is not theirs to carry. Their task is to follow God forward on whatever path He leads them on, and trust that the act of His discipleship at the end of the day is all Jesus really asked for. Go forth and spread the good news, Love the lord our God with all your heart, mind and soul, Do unto others and you do would do for yourself. The beatitudes. Jesus – was simple and loyal to God. That is all He asks.
I don’t intend to rant about the details, the sin, the ruined lives. Only a dolt would be unable to grasp the seriousness of this though in all seriousness, saying that it is also clear there are many ranking clergy who do not “get it”.
I know my very “simple” Christian background is fully responsible for my strong faith in God. My grandparents took me to the “Gospel Hall” for a reason – for me to love Jesus and all that He represents. I’m not sure today what they would think of my spirituality and our Trintarian God. I have practiced to the best of my ability and conscience the Roman Catholic faith for decades now.
When we read the bible it is really quite clear, from the beginning of the bible through out that our Trinitarian God – The Father, Son and Spirit intended a married clergy for the church.
The original disciples/apostles were all married. Even in those days where that meant traveling to spread the word these men had wives. God valued/s joined unions. He saw the need and value of a life partner for Adam and going forward two by two – pairs in Noah’s story.
Our Father created us. Refer to Psalm 139, He created us to complement each other, lifelong companions, family, growing through life in Him. His gifts to us. His gifts no institution, no church has the right to even consider to suggest a celibate life is the only way one can serve the church as clergy or religious.
I read a blog earlier today on marriage. It was a short story – a love story. Telling of meeting each other, staying up more than half the night talking, sharing, breaking up and getting back together in Him. Marriage – a call to wholeness, a call to holiness. When two become one in Him.
Intimacy in marriage is not “sex”, it is those late-night hours one spends staying up late talking, getting to know each other. It’s dinner – and it’s dishes! Who’s taking the trash out and where will we go on vacation and explore together, physically caring for a sick family member, serving at the soup kitchen, sorting through clothes to donate, helping a single parent care for their children. It is planning (and praying) a future together with each other and with your family and friends. It is something to carry forward with you in all of your day thru to our physical death in His Kingdom on earth with the joy and hope of carrying that love forward in your heart. Marriage in Him changes a person.
A married clergy offers our clergy life experiences and it offers others the witness of life and love, marriage in him. Men who have close intimate relationships with women, who have children in their family would not fare well with the secrecy and lies of the church. A Priest who is a father would not tolerate a clergy or religious who abused someone, because living Gods life of family you learn and see things differently. You grow in ways you cannot as celibate. In marriage there is the trusted wife/husband. The pillow talks at bedtime, the quiet time of night conversation that may not offer any real details but a confession of problems or issues of sorts, sharing and support as that is what spouses do in an emotionally intimate relationship.
This church as greatly failed its people. It has failed laypersons, but it has also failed its religious and clergy of both sexes. It has stolen away a life given by God by telling His children this is the only way you can serve God as religious or clergy is to be celibate (unless you are a “chosen” convert). It is a lie. We know that.
I know I am sounding like a broken record but Jesus founded His church on a married clergy. If He wanted a celibate clergy, the story would have been written that way and it was not. Perhaps marriage is not for everyone, but it is for a large majority of His children. It sickens me to hear the Pope will allow bishops to ordain married men – and know the church has literally thrown away over 120,000 Priest who married. They have gone off to live and teach Gods love in new ways.
I have a habit of reading some of the daily readings ahead of their days. I almost always read the following Sundays by mid-week. This week two of the readings really stand out in my heart and my mind – my soul.
The second reading for Sunday August 26th
Reading 2EPH 5:21-32 (adding 33)
Brothers and sisters:
Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.
For the husband is head of his wife
just as Christ is head of the church,
he himself the savior of the body.
As the church is subordinate to Christ,
so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives,
even as Christ loved the church
and handed himself over for her to sanctify her,
cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,
that he might present to himself the church in splendor,
without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,
that she might be holy and without blemish.
So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.
He who loves his wife loves himself.
For no one hates his own flesh
but rather nourishes and cherishes it,
even as Christ does the church,
because we are members of his body.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
This is a great mystery,
but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.
33In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband.
Sadly, though Christ is to be the head of the church He is not treated as such as there are so many man made rules and laws that have been made. He weeps. There is nothing clear or pristine about the Roman Catholic church – to me, this evening. It has caused a worldwide hurt (which the church appears to be hiding again, I will state it does seem that this huge news is being squashed by someone. Those “across the pond” were not aware). Also, St. Paul reminds us of Genesis and how God stated a man will leave his parents and take a wife – and cherish her as Jesus will cherish the church. “two shall become one”.
The Gospel reading for this week:
Many of Jesus’ disciples who were listening said,
“This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this,
he said to them, “Does this shock you?
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending
to where he was before?
It is the spirit that gives life,
while the flesh is of no avail.
The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe.”
Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe
and the one who would betray him.
And he said,
“For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me
unless it is granted him by my Father.”
As a result of this,
many of his disciples returned to their former way of life
and no longer accompanied him.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe
and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”
Who cannot grasp this writing? Jesus told us living as God asks is not easy. The beatitudes would not be easy and there were those that left His teachings. I submit there are those that run the church – that left a long time ago. Centuries. They have forgotten how to be every day citizens of the world, men. Walls and secrecy – walls between the church and the world, between the walls and God.
Do you want to leave? Should I leave, or should I stay?
I wrote a portion of this on a post online yesterday and I believe it is fitting. We have been called by church leaders to pray and fast. I believe that does nothing more than pat everyone on the head and force innocents (clergy included) to pray for the guilt of others, a practice that is made for Priests in that they must serve penance for each confession they hear. (Jesus has already forgiven, and the sinner must grasp their own sin, correct their ways, make things right).
Jesus, believing in and loving Jesus is very simple, pure. It has become muddled and mucked up and sullied through this church. His teachings are simple, kind and loving – the church is not. There have been so many hurt. I see many wanting to try to fix this mess.
This scandal will bring portions of the Roman Catholic church to its knees. It may drop it to the floor. Perhaps this is a time to consider the “what we want” and “what we need”. We may “want” to fix something incredibly intrinsically broken. We may “believe” we can do that, we can make it happen – but the very truth is that the Roman Catholic church has carried this luggage around for close to two-thousand years. Is our Father leading us somewhere new?
Seeing the depth and knowing more of the sins against child and man – against God and the continuation thereof. Men in high places who will not admit where the issues began and laugh at the thought of a married clergy which would have given us many Priests. The inability to see outside of a box with the love and joy given by our Trinitarian God.
With each day passing we see more and more deceit and sickness within the church revealed. – I do not believe the church will make the true corrective necessary changes at this time. For some strange reason they seem to think a shrinking faith is what God wants. The tares and the wheat, those that believe in less followers, squelching the growth of His Kingdom – or those that follow the path that leads to God in His growing Kingdom. There are so many who need to learn of and experience God’s love out there.
The church is not fully our God, that is the blessing we have. Our Father loves each one of us as created in Psalm 139.
We have hope in our Father when we accept His gifts and walk with the Son. I do not have an answer today. I am overwhelmed with information and rather than make a rash decision to flee, I am following my heart and know to be what God asks of me. I also know He offers us many paths that lead to Him, all with wide and narrow gates. ~ Laurie