I am late to the party on this one, as it has been much publicized and talked about, even in homilies at your local parish. So I won’t go ahead an rehash all the news about (now ex-cardinal) Archbishop McCarrick.
I recently answered a survey about my feelings and reactions about this new scandal, as compared to the 2002 scandal, and I wanted to expound on it, because it challenged me to really search how I feel about this.
In 2002, I lapsed as a Catholic. I had a crisis that I expected to address spiritually with a priest. But this priest actually made me feel unimportant, as he made me wait till after Mass to talk to him, and then blatantly said that he couldn’t see me because he had to go to Starbucks. Interestingly, at this time I had no TV or internet access, so I wasn’t up to date in the world happenings. I had no idea of the magnitude of the scandal, and thought it was a couple of isolated cases, and not a systemic issue that needed to be addressed.
Fast forward to today, and I am a full revert, looking forward to the Sacrament of marriage in the Catholic Church. I am deeply bothered that this behavior went on for as long as it did. And especially bothered that it is possible that it is still going on today, with other priests in charge who have not come out. Debauchery infiltrates every institution, and it hurts the institution as well as the people in it. It hurts the most when this institution is beloved by many, as the Church is.
It is not easy to come to terms with this, especially when you are preached on how sex before marriage is wrong, why homosexual acts are wrong, etc. What kind of hypocrites are leading our Church? But before I get too deep in that line of thought, I want to say that priests, just like everyone else out there, are human beings with struggles and fighting against their own sinfulness. However, the Church holds the Truth, and this truth should be recognized as is by the followers of the Church. We all have struggles, but when the truth is involved, you understand the real reason something is morally wrong, and, at least for me, a little bit easier to stay on the right path.
In the end, priests aren’t Christ, just like you and I aren’t Christ. But we are called to follow in His footsteps, and abide by His teachings, contained in the Bible and in the 2000ish years of Tradition of the Church. I predict this won’t be the last of it, and we will hear about more clerical abuse, but I also predict that layity is more likely to take back the Church and fight for the Truth it holds.
Edited to add: (on August 21st, 2018)
When I wrote this little piece I was simply outraged but didn’t think that this would become the scandal of the centuries.
My prayers are especially with the victims of this abuse, who were first victimized by predators cowardly hiding behind a roman collar, and further victimized by the cover up. But my prayers also go to the good priests, for strength and steadfastness and for the bad priests, that they repent, convert, and turn themselves in.