Wednesday, August 29, 2018


   The latest horrific revelation of abuse of children by priests and the cover-up by bishops is a good opportunity for Catholics to get truly angry at the Church leaders, including Pope Francis.

   First, as a former Philadelphia priest, I want to say clearly and gratefully that I have the privilege to know Philly priests whom it has been a blessing and honor to call my brothers.  The are the exceptions to what I must say below. 

   For far too long Church leaders have directed their attention to the behavior of the priest-predators, especially homosexual priests, and finally to the bishops who covered up the predators' sins and crimes.  But they have refused to see that the problem is not a sexual one but a centuries old structural one.  It is time to wake up!

   The Catholic Church made a spiritually lethal structural error when it ceased being the People of Christ living their way in the life and truth of Christ, and took on the autocratic structure of the Roman Empire.  The role of the Emperor was taken over by the Pope; the Roman Senators became the Cardinals; the Governors became the Bishops, and the Roman peasants became the laity.  Later, the Church leaders added the trappings of Medieval Lords, which they still enjoy.  

   Throughout this time, the leaders isolated themselves from the laity and the world at large in a special class of privilege called the clergy.  For obvious good reasons, Jesus explicitly forbade his followers to take on such titles and honors.  (Lk. 22:26:  Let the greatest among you be as the youngest, and the leader as the servant.)

   What the leaders fail to see is that the anti-Christian clerical structure of isolation and privilege  has produced an ugly, foul atmosphere in which a most terribly debased humanity could flourish.  The problem is not homosexuality.  Both gays and straights abused both male and female children.  It is the dank atmosphere of isolation and privilege that attracts and has permitted deviates, both gay and straight, to operate without detection--or if detected, without accountability.

   The  Barque of Peter is a deteriorating wooden boat propelled by torn sails in a world where ships of steel and exotic metals are run by nuclear generators.  A half century ago, the Second Vatican Council opened the way for the Church to catch up to today's world.  A Council is the highest level of Church teaching.  Pope Francis knows this.  The way to Church renewal is open.  Yes, his opposition is strong and he will suffer greatly.  But the abused are crying out to God!  The world is waiting.  Francis is the Pope.  He has the knowledge and power to change the Church and make it a light of hope and love in today's world.  What is he waiting for?