It seems not a month goes by that one does not read of some new revelation concerning the conduct of one or another Roman Catholic priest. Recently, the Diocese of Dallas was financially wrecked by the award of $120 million dollars to victims of convicted pedophile priest Rudy Kos. All told, the number of offenses alleged against Kos came to 1350 over an 11 year period.
Shortly after Kos' trial, the Archbishop of San Antonio made a public plea for funds to help the Archdiocese of San Antonio pay penalties and compensation awarded by local courts to the victims of two pedophile priests.
These are not isolated incidents. Within the past 20 months or so, the Diocese of Bridgeport (CT), was successfully sued by two victims of priestly child abuse in separate cases. A New Haven (CT) priest was successfully sued for sexually abusing a child. A diocese in Alabama and another in Springfield, (IL) and individual priests also were taken to court.
Jody Ericson, writing in the April 3, 1998 edition of the Providence Phoenix , reported the likely imminent ouster of long-time Rhode Island bishop Louis Gelineau in the wake of mounting sexual abuse scandals. Ericson reported that "some 40 rape and molestation suits have been filed against 13 priests in Rhode Island."
"Okay," say those inclined to turn a blind eye to such symptoms of depravity in the clergy and hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, "there are bound to be a few bad apples who evade the close scrutiny of the the bishops and manage to get through seminary and be ordained to the priesthood. Their corrupt behavior should be viewed as the failings of individual men and not of the Catholic Church as a whole." On the surface, that sounds pretty good. On the surface.
Do officials of the RCC seek to "cover up" the aberrant sexual behavior of its priests? Let us examine the manner in which the various ordinaries are said to have dealt with the allegations and charges laid against priests under their authority. In San Antonio, claims surfaced that the Archdiocese was aware of the vile sexual preferences and behavior of at least one of the convicted priests but that rather than acting to protect children and others of the RCC faithful, simply transferred the offender to another parish.
Defrocked priest Rudy Kos claims he tried for years to tell officials something was wrong with him and that he needed help. He says he was told he was on his own. When he was 16, Kos was sent to a juvenile facility for deviant bevahior. He claims to have seen a number of psychiatrists who either could not or would not help him. He said he entered the priesthood seeking a refuge from homosexual feelings he had been having. Kos blames the RCC hierarchy, which he says betrayed him.
A suit against the Bridgeport (CT) Diocese was allowed to go to jury in spite of the abuse victim's age because there was an issue of fact as to whether the Diocese had fraudulently concealed the cause of the action. The Diocese was also ordered to pay $33,195 in sanctions for withholding evidence. (Martinelli v. Bridgeport Roman Catholic Diocese. No. 3:93 CV 1482 (Arterton, J.) U.S.D.C. , New Haven, August 26, 1997
In a recent Alabama case, a woman claimed, in a suit against a priest and the catholic diocese, that her parish priest sexually abused her as a child, and that one of his female followers raped her. The case was dismissed on a technicality involving the statute of limitations. (Alabama, Doe v. Roman Catholic Church , 656 So.2d 5 (La.App. 3 Cir. 1995)
One can only wonder how such monsters can become priests. However, once the pedophiles, fornicators and carousers within the "celibate" priesthood are identified, why does the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church appear to protect them, rather than separate them from the innocents they are charged to shepherd? Why does the RCC hierarchy appear to do nothing, or very little, to help them. Sending a depraved priest on a retreat to the "mother house" of his order, seems hardly enough. Certainly, merely transferring such a person to a different parish does nothing more than expose other innocents to his predatory behavior.
Perhaps one reason is that Catholicism does not require impeccability of its priests. In itself, of course, this is not unusual, for who can live a sin-free life? Certainly not this writer and, as we have seen over the past several years, not some who would preach from a Protestant pulpit. What makes a difference within the RCC is its failure or refusal to adhere to its own doctrine and laws. Scripture is quite clear as to God's opinion of those who willingly participate in deviant sexual behavior:
Leviticus 18:22, "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."
Leviticus 20:13, "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."
There may be those who would argue that priestly pedophilia is not quite the same thing as homosexuality. I would agree. It is worse. In any case, the Lord God Almighty admits to no weaseling:
The Lord has provided a golden parachute for those who turn aside from the reprobate life.
God forgives those who respond to His call and covers theirs sins with the shed blood of Christ, but He holds in low esteem those who, knowing Him turn back to their evil ways:
The RCC, which is a law unto itself, has much to say concerning those to whom it accords the authority and power (according to her own dogma), to call Jesus Christ down from Heaven to reside in eucharistic wafers. To whom it calls alter Christus, or "another Christ." Compare the public behavior of the Roman Catholic hierarchy with the Canons of its own Law.
Whoa! Just what does this mean? In the Catholic reckoning of the Decalogue, which conforms to the Augustinian model, the Sixth Commandment is: Thou shalt not commit adultery. Now, according to the Catholic understanding of adultery, it must involve sexual relations with a married person. Clearly, a 10-year-old altar boy is not likely to be married so, I suppose, according to the strict letter of the canon law, pedophilia involving a priest and such a child would not strictly be considered adultery.
Continuing to read in Canon 1395:
I suppose the questions here must be 1) is it adultery when a priest sexually abuses an altar boy; and 2) if it is, what would be a "just penalty"? Perhaps another question should be: If it isn't adultery, is it not still wrong?
Well, "Mother Church" has a sort of catchall canon to cover those ecclesiastical crimes not addressed specifically in the canon law. When you read the following, please give particular notice to under what conditions this law might be invoked.
In other words, take action as necessary to protect the RCC from unfavorable media attention.
Is the Roman Church unaware of the evil nature of the predatory actions of its pedophile priests against the children who serve at the altar? I think not, for in the Catholic Catechism, we read:
How can a pedophile or other sexual predator officiate at the Catholic Mass? How can a priest who, by even the Roman Catholic concept of justification, clearly has fallen out of grace be permitted to invoke priestly powers to call Christ down from Heaven to be offered yet again in the Eucharistic sacrifice? How can a priest who has fouled his soul with sexual sin take in his hands the consecrated wafer which is, according to RCC dogma, the real and substantial body, blood, soul and divinity of the Second Person of the Trinity? How can the Catholic faithful take this bread from his tainted hands?
Does not Scripture warn that those who partake of the Lord's Supper unworthily will incur God's wrath?
Catholic canon law holds to a similar position:
This appears to cover those who continue to practice grave sins such as fornication, pedophilia, and the like, but what about the officiating priest? What about the man whom Catholics love to refer to as alter Christus? Does he not only call Christ down from His seat at the right side of the Father to become a communion wafer but actually partake of that wafer, that so-called body of Christ, in the Eucharistic sacrifice? Can someone guilty of persistent grave sin be qualified to do these things? Canon law states:
I am not prepared to address whether a "sacramental confession" of persistent and continuing grave sin qualifies a person to be another Christ. Nor will I address the issue of the validity of such a confession when the confessing sinner has every intention of continuing to sin in the same way. Let Rome's canon lawyers dispute over that. Suffice it that the Council of Trent addressed the effect of grave sin on one's standing with the grace of Christ:
Making the question as clear as possible, can a priest who is cut off from the grace of Christ because of persistent sexual sin truly celebrate the Eucharistic sacrifice that is the very heart of the Mass? Trent says he can and, moreover, that his standing with the Lord has no effect on the sacraments he confers or effects. Hard to believe, hunh?
Ye Must Be Born Again